What You Need to Consider Before Choosing a Doctor

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Ask yourself these questions to decide whether you and your (potential) new doctor can build a healthy relationship.

1. Did it take months to book an appointment, then forever to be seen?

How long it takes to snag an appointment and how long you wait once you’re there can reveal a lot about future visits: At 10 a.m., is he already two hours behind? Ain’t nobody got time for that.

2. Was the doc engaging?

Not in the McDreamy sense, but did he make eye contact during conversation and actively listen to and address your concerns without interrupting you or scoffing at your “I read it on WebMD” reference?

3. Were lifestyle and potential long-term risks discussed?

Things like family medical history and how you eat, sleep, exercise, and handle stress should all be covered during your first visit. Omitting those topics is a huge oversight—proceed with caution.

4. Did you feel rushed?

A 2012 NPR poll found that three out of five patients felt rushed through exams. Not cool. If the doc is overbooked and doesn’t spend enough quality time with you, he won’t have enough info to do his job.

5. How easy will communicating be in the future?

An online portal that allows you to ask questions (and get answers), read test results, request script refills, and make or change appointments is super-helpful. If your doc doesn’t offer this, is it a deal breaker?

6. Did you feel that he was a pusher instead of a healer?

Pills and prescriptions should be a last—or at least not the first—resort, so if only meds were suggested but no natural or holistic approaches, consider looking further.

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