Follow this guide before choosing a doctor

There are rising cases of negligent death lawsuit all around us. A key reason why this is becoming rampant is that medical practitioners fail to offer the standard professional level of care or wrongly diagnose patients thereby leading to death.

To avoid being a victim of many of the afore-described scenarios, I have curated a guide that you can follow when you want to choose a medical doctor for your needs.

  • If you are in a new area or it is your first time choosing a medical doctor, it pays to start with recommendations from your friends and neighbours. However, you are not going to choose a doctor on the whim of such recommendations but it’s a good place to start.
  • Do you need a general medical doctor or specialist doctor? A generalist cares for your overall wellbeing but you will need a specialist doctor to care for your particular needs if you have some special type of health needs. Perhaps a chronic health problem.
  • The doctor must be board-certified to practise. A doctor is deemed competent by the number of certificates he has. But at the barest minimum, he must be board certified before you proceed to choose him or her as your primary care provider. In the case where you need a specialist, make such persons have passed series of exams and have undergone advanced training in the field of study.
  • Does the medical doctor have a good disciplinary standing? You can visit the website of your state medical licensure board to run a background check on the doctor and ascertain if he is clean. If he has been disciplined in the past, be sure to look at why he was disciplined and if he has been disciplined on similar or different accounts after their first erring.
  • Schedule an interview with the shortlisted medical doctors you have at hand. If they have been disciplined in the past, ask them why they were disciplined and how they ensure such measures aren’t taken against them going forward.
  • Online reviews are a good place to gather intel on your shortlisted doctors. Before you schedule an interview, kindly run a simple google search on your candidates and see what people have to say about them. Balance the positive against the negatives.
  • If you have health insurance be sure to know what your health insurance actually covers. Find out whether your health plan covers your choice of a medical doctor.
  • Check with the doctor on how he handles appointments. Do you have to wait for a few days before you can see him or he can attend you the same day you seek an appointment? In the case where you have an urgent need that must be attended to, would he prioritize seeing you?
  • Another thing you need to give thought to is where the medical practitioner practises in terms of hospital and location. It pays to have a doctor who is stationed near your residence. This ensures that you are able to see him promptly whenevr need be.