Today Show: How To Shop for a Doctor
When you need to find medical care for yourself or a family member, it may be tempting to do a quick Internet search for a physician nearby, for the convenience. But according to Today Show, you don’t want to put your family’s health at risk by not doing your homework. Al Roker sat with a team of doctors who shared their advice on choosing the right one for your family’s needs.
Choosing a Doctor: Ask for Personal Recommendations
“Personal recommendation is best,” said internist Dr Roshini Raj. She also suggested asking your own doctor for referrals or recommendations to a specialist. Who would your doctor trust with his or her health? Dr Raj said that doctors know their peers, and someone who knows your medical history could recommend a specialist who would be a good fit.
Today Show: Ask About a Doctor’s Experience
Surgeon Dr Benjamin Schwartz said that your doctor’s function makes a difference. Though bedside manner is an aspect of surgical care, you also want to have confidence in a surgeon’s experience in the operating room.
“You want somebody who’s competent to do the procedure, someone with the right experience, and someone with good outcomes,” Dr Schwartz said. Surgery may not be a specialty where a personality fit is as important as it would be with your primary care provider.
Doctor Shopping: The New Health Rules
Dr Frank Lipman, author of The New Health Rules, also shared his perspective. He said that you may want to choose an Internist who looks at the overall picture of your health, not just in the medical sphere, but also in terms of diet and lifestyle considerations, including stress and sleep.
Today Show: Ask About Surgical Outcomes
What should you ask your doctor during a first visit? Ask a surgeon about his or her track record, and probe about their experience with your particular diagnosis or procedure. “You really want to make sure that the doctor you’re seeing is experienced to treat your specific condition,” Dr Raj said.
Dr Schwartz added that you have to have trust in your surgeon. He suggested considering a balance of experience, training, and surgical outcomes.
Finding a Physician: Is Your Doctor Board-Certified?
Does international training have an impact on quality of care? Dr Lipman trained in South African in the 1970s, where he said the medical school was excellent. But standards can vary by country, so it can be important to do research.
However, Dr Raj pointed out that board certification can help you have confidence in any doctor’s training. No matter where a physician studied, he or she has to pass this rigorous exam to meet American standards of medical proficiency and training.
What questions do you have about choosing a doctor or specialist?