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How to Choose the Right Doctor: 10 Things to Know

By Emily Lockhart

You are hold the decision making power when it comes to selecting a doctor or family physician. However, sometimes too much choice can be overwhelming—particularly when it comes to your health and wellness.

That’s exactly why I’ve put together this helpful list to help you choose the best doctor for your health and lifestyle…

1. Reputation

Curious how current and past patients feel about a particular doctor your considering as your family physician?  Just do a general search online and you will find a ton of reviews from real people who will tell you all about their personal experiences—including what the office environment, doctor’s availability, care style, good deeds, and mistakes.

2. Credentials

You don’t want to trust just any dude with a medical degree with your family’s wellbeing. That’s why doing a check to see what his or her credentials are is important—for instance, where they went to school, did their residency, what they specialize in, etc.

3. Availability

Sure, it says a doctor is popular if they book 6-months in advance. But if they’re always busy, how are you supposed to get in for an appointment when you really need one?  No one likes to feel like their being rushed out of an appointment so keep that in mind when trusting a doctor with your most personal health issues.

4. Location

It’s stressful enough to get out of work and get to a doctor’s appointment on time, but if you have to pack up the kids and battle 30-minutes of stop and go traffic, you might need to be committed by the time you arrive. Consider location when choosing a doctor. I purposely picked one a few blocks away so I can walk to appointments.

5. One-on-One Rapport

By rapport, I’m referring to the amount of communication, trust, and respect that you not only have for your chosen doctor; but the amount of communication, trust, and respect that he or she also has for you, the patient.  If you don’t feel that you can openly communicate in a trusting manner with this professional, keep looking.

6. Bedside Manner

You’ll be dealing with some pretty intense, embarrassing, and emotional topics when it comes to your personal health. You might prefer a doctor with an empathetic tone or one that remembers to ask about your kids—regardless, you want a doctor that listens to you and doesn’t brush you off to get to the next appointment.

7. Payment Options

If you have medical insurance (either work or personal) you’ll obviously want a doctor who you can pay under your insurance plan’s network of approved doctors. Keep in mind that some specialists, for example gynecologists, may not be approved under your plan.

8. Gender

It might seem silly to consider gender when choosing a doctor. However, for some women, especially young girls facing their periods or elderly women facing menopause, a doctor of female gender may  not only provide more comfort, but may also have been through the same experience. You want a medical professional that you can talk to freely about your health without embarrassment.

9.  Age

Age like gender could be a personal preference for elderly patients who wouldn’t feel comfortable with a much younger doctor or young patients who don’t feel comfortable with a doctor much older than they are. You might also not want to get attached to a doctor approaching retirement.

10. Office Orderliness

Remember, you will have to deal with the doctor’s front office staff at each appointment before you get access to the doc himself. So consider the orderliness, friendliness, and professionalism of the receptionists, nurses, and assistants as well when choosing a doctor.




Emily Lockhart


Emily Lockhart is a certified yoga instructor and personal trainer. She believes that being healthy is a lifestyle choice, not a punishment or temporary fix to attain a desired fitness or body image goal. Anna helps her clients take responsibility for their own health and wellness through her classes and articles on ActiveBeat.

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