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Choosing a doctor: Don’t settle for mediocrity

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Health grades and other sites that rate physicians and their offices are not a good way to choose a physician whether it is primary care or a specialist. Although in theory what they are doing seems like a good idea, it really is not a good quality metric for individual physicians.

When choosing a primary care physician, it is a good idea to plan a first visit interview. Your healthcare experience starts with the office staff. How you are treated and the cleanliness of the environment reflects on the physician who will be taking care of you.

Pay attention whether you’re getting eye contact or if the physician in only interested in the computer. A good physician should be asking open ended questions and trying to learn as much about you, as an individual, as possible.

You should be able to learn about your physician as well. Ask them questions about how they keep current, such as scientific literature or health conferences. What are their clinical interests outside of primary care.  Are they part of a larger organization contracted to only use specialists within their group regardless of your preference? If so, would they personally use these same specialists or recommend them to their family

A good primary care doctor should be able to help you find a qualified specialist. However, you should still do your homework. Surgical specialists  should be doing several procedures every day; at least 400 per year. What are their complication rates and how does that compare to the national norm?

Finding a good health care practitioner can seem overwhelming. However, with the recommendations provided you will find a quality provider who will be your advocate, working with you to obtain optimal health.


-Brooke Rieth NP

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