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Choosing a Physician, Long Island, NY

Choosing a physician is an important decision. It is necessary to gather as much information about each physician as possible. Below, the medical editor has provided information choosing a physician and links to informational websites.

Choosing a Physician, Long Island NY:

First of all, if one has the insurance and means, the worst way to choose a physician is in an emergency situation. You have little if any control over where an ambulance will take you – and in an emergency situation, you want to go in an ambulance with resuscitation and medication facilities and skills.

Choosing a physician or other health care provider, from family practitioner to specialist is one of the most important choices you make in your life.

Many of us choose by word of mouth, family habit or referral. No matter how you reach the doctor’s office, unless you are happy you should not continue to go there, unless that health care provider offers a unique service.

Happiness starts with the physician’s staff: are they friendly, understanding and courteous. Remember, however, that there is an unspoken contract between patient and physician and you must try to hold up your end of the contract: call if missing an appointment, try to take the medications as prescribed, get the laboratory and radiology tests as ordered and follow through on secondary services such as physical therapy, radiation therapy, social worker visit, etc.

There are some near logical ways to choose a physician discussed below; remember however, that your gut feeling is often right. Your insurance plan may restrict the physicians you can see. Is your physician licensed (see site below), is she or he board certified (a test that determines that they have learned their residency specialty – this is important). You may have a preference for a young physician, one in the middle of their career or one towards the end of their career (which are lasting longer and longer). All of these categories offer unique advantages and disadvantages.

Does your physician explain your condition to you in a clear fashion, is your treatment plan clear to you, does she or he take the time to meet your emotional needs (harder and harder in today’s fast paced medical world), are costs clearly explained, are medications explained along with significant possible side effects?. Does your doctor refer you to specialist without hesitation? This is very important – as no physician knows it all anymore and specialist referral is an important part of your physician’s job. If you are seeing a specialist, do you know why?

Here are things you can do to help choose the right physician: Probably the best tool is the internet, for better or worse.
  1. Have you read about your condition and perhaps joined a support group? This is a good place to start on-line and often you will get the names of physicians with whom others who have you condition are satisfied.
  2. Every state has a list of outstanding malpractice suits and disciplinary actions. If a practitioner is in a high-risk field, such as obstetrics or neurosurgery, the number of malpractice claims may be misleading.
  3. There are lists published of outstanding physicians – these are neither necessarily accurate nor meaningful. However, you may find them of help.
  4. Every state licensing board maintains a list of physician credentials. Please note, that going to a top-notch school nor doing a the best residency is NO guarantee of a physician with whom you will be happy. But it certainly is of value.
  5. If you are having a procedure done, such as surgery, there is no question that the more procedures the hospital does and the physician does, the better they usually are. Hospitals are not just MDs or DOs; they are a very complex web of responsibilities from the ward clerk to the Nurses. So if you are heading to the hospital, take some time and ask about the hospitals record, the quality of the anesthetists and the quality of the nursing staff. And if you have doubts, ask to be referred on.
  6. Perhaps the most powerful tool a patient has is to gently ask for a second opinion. Any good Physician will gladly refer you on; as a physician myself, this is one truth that I can testify to.
  7. And remember, you are hiring the physician and in spite of the white coat and the degrees on the wall, you are the one who must be satisfied. Every good physician I know believes in this.
  8. Finally, please be kind and remember that the world has changed drastically for physicians, from massively increased paper work, to new and more complicated drugs, to lawyers ever vigilant to pursue both fair and unfair malpractice suits, complicated insurance and government regulations. These are hard working individuals who nearly all are doing the best they can for you. So a smile, a statement of appreciation and patience all go a long way to getting better medical care.
Below are several useful sites on this topic. Please note that is not responsible for the content of external sites. Three online physician rating services. Caveat emptor!
Related Links
1. Medical Care, Long Island, NY
2. General Medical Glossary
3. Guide to Medical Glossaries by Specialty
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