The search for a new physician is never simple, but finding an individual who inspires confidence, trust, and provides open communication with their patients is one of the most important parts. Before choosing a new practice, there are a few questions new patients should ask at their first appointment.
What Certifications and Education Experience Does the Physician Have?
While all doctors have had years of education before receiving their medical degree, some practitioners go above and beyond with additional training and licenses. Individuals looking for practitioners with expertise in a particular treatment area should ask about unique qualifications. Where did the doctor earn their degree? What additional training do they have in their specialty? Knowing where they received their relevant experience can give a new patient insight into the treatment style and overall qualifications.
Who Answers Patients’ Questions?
At some medical practices, a receptionist fields incoming calls, takes messages, and relays patients’ questions, while some doctors prefer to answer questions personally. At the first appointment, ask who answers patients’ questions. Will the receptionist simply relay a question and call the patient back with the response, or will the physician call the patient back with an answer? For some patients, the answer to this question can be a game changer.
How Are Emergency Appointments Treated?
Emergencies happen, but not all offices set aside times for emergency or short-notice appointments. At the first appointment, ask the doctor what the scheduling process is like for these types of appointments. Does the physician or a nurse practitioner take care of emergency calls? Knowing what to expect and the degree of flexibility in the case of emergencies can help patients determine whether or not the practice is a good fit for their needs.
Does the Doctor Have a Preference On Hospitals?
Many practices have long-standing relationships and preferences on area hospitals. Their opinions are formed based on experiences of other patients, and knowledge of the emergency practitioners on staff. If an emergency situation arises where immediate medical attention or surgery needs to be scheduled, a relationship with a nearby primary care physician can be important in ensuring all relevant information is shared with a hospital.
When looking for a new medical professional, it’s important to take into consideration experience, demeanor, and their practice’s reputation in the community. While online reviews will help explain others’ experiences, the only way to know which doctors are the right fit is the schedule a consultation and ask questions.