Health Tips: 10 Questions For Doctors

When you find a doctor, let them know your medical needs. A guide to physician care.

Here are the 10 questions you should ask a doctor:

1. How often should I have a physical exam?

You may think you need one yearly. A doctor may recommend one every few years. It's important to agree on this one.

2. How often are you on call?

If a doctor is only one call once a month, he or she may be well rested, but what happens to you if you need after-hours medical care?

3. What insurance plans do you accept?

This is so important because if a doctor is not on your insurance plan, your visits could involve high out-of-pocket costs.

4. What is your policy regarding telephone advice?

Maybe you've got a case of mild diarrhea, nothing severe, and no vomiting. You aren't sure if you should take medicine or just bear with it. Many doctors allow their nurses to offer phone advice, and this saves you a trip, and prevents the doctor from seeing cases which could be treated at home.

5. How long should I expect to wait for you (the doctor) to return a phone call?

If you want to speak personally to your doctor, it is nearly impossible to do so during the day. Many doctors call their patients back at night or the next day. That is acceptable, but it's important to find out what your doctor feels is acceptable.



6. How long should I expect to wait in the waiting room?

There is a reason that doctors' waiting rooms are stocked with reading material. Many patients spend a lot of time waiting to be seen for a very brief appointment. Ask your doctor what he or she believes is a reasonable waiting time.

7. What hospital(s) is he or she affiliated with?

No one likes to plan a hospital visit, but sometimes they are necessary. It's good to know if your doctor where your doctor admits his or her patients. You may not want to drive all the way across town to go to a hospital.

8. What age does he or she prefer to treat?

Some doctors love adolescents, other prefer geriatrics. Ask your doctor if he or she has a preference.

9. Is he or board certified?

Board certification assures that the doctor has passed the board requirements for his or her specialty. If you are too intimidated to ask the doctor, ask his office staff or the local medical society.

10. What are the philosophies on screenings, such as cholesterol?

Certain tests may be more important to you, such as cholesterol, or colon cancer screens. It's important that you and your doctor share the same philosophy to avoid disagreements down the road.

Finding a doctor you trust is the first step in building a long-term relationship with him or her. It is comforting to have a doctor who has followed your health over time, so take time to choose a doctor carefully.

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