Receiving the right care is a critical component to your good health. Over the years, several suggestions have surfaced to help steer consumers towards quality physicians: clinical measures, consumer ratings and accreditation.
At Vitals.com, we believe consumers should consider all of these factors. And we do it all for free.
While choosing a doctor does have individual considerations, we believe that there are some top points to ponder when choosing a physician:
1. Board-certified. Make sure your doctor is certified and has passed the board in your particular state.
2. Years of Experience. While you might appreciate the fresh approach a recent graduate will take towards internal medicine, you might want to seek out a seasoned pro when it comes to performing your surgery. Also consider their age: will your child’s pediatrician still be practicing when he/she enters high-school or is your doc just a few years from retiring?
3. Clinical Measures. Prepare for your visit by checking on the types of procedures and tests your doctor should be ordering for your condition. Make sure your doctor is thorough in her examination and is using all the tools necessary to make the right diagnosis. And don’t just sigh a breath of relief if you don’t get a test you had anticipated — ask why!
4. Hospital Affiliations. Not all hospitals are created equal and, like it or not, the hospital your doctor is affiliated with does reflect on him. Check to see if your doctor is affiliated with a top rated facility.
5. Patient Ratings/Reviews. Consumer ratings can sway our decision. Does your doctor have a good bedside manner? Did others feel rushed during their visit? Only by getting other patient’s feedback can you get a better picture of your physician’s personality.
6. Average Wait-time. Will you be whittling away the good part of an hour in a waiting room or is your physician punctual and prompt? Many consumers feel that a physician’s wait-time is an indicator of how much respect they give to YOU and your time.
7. Education. Did you doctor attend a domestic medical school or did she travel abroad? Research shows that education can make a slight difference in patient satisfaction.
8. Sanctions. Sanctions can be serious, so take the time to see if your doctor has had any kind of disciplinary actions leveled against him.
9. Published Author. Is your doctor considered a leading researcher in her field? Is she a frequent contributor to medical journals? Follow your physician’s paper trail to examine her level of expertise.
10. Insurance. No matter how good your doctor is, it might not matter if you can’t afford his care. Check to see if your doctor accepts your insurance or if you can afford his out-of-pocket rates.
Vitals believes that all consumers should have access to quality healthcare. That’s why we’ve created a destination for consumers to examine their doctor and prepare for a physician visit. All for free.