Your health is precious and should only rest in the hands of someone you trust. This is why it is so important that you choose your health care providers carefully.
Read on to learn 5 essential qualities that you should be looking for in your new doctor.
Tell-Tell Signs of What Makes a Good Doctor
1. They genuinely care about you and make it a point to listen to you.
Nothing is more important than finding a doctor that actually cares about you. After all, a doctor’s job is to help you, and you should never settle for someone who does not care about your wellbeing or is not willing to put in their best efforts towards improving your quality of life.
On a similar note, it is necessary that your doctor is skilled at the art of listening. No matter how good a doctor is, they must be able to listen to their patients, as their patients can provide valuable insights into what they’re experiencing that help a doctor form a diagnosis, influence a treatment plan, and indicate how effectively a treatment is working. You should always leave your appointment feeling heard, empowered, and informed, rather than dismissed, neglected, and left in the dark.
2. The doctor has good bedside manners.
While there are many brilliant doctors out there who are experts at what they do, patients may not feel like they are in trusted hands if their doctor lacks good beside manners or is unable to effectively communicate with them. This is why it is so important that you are able to feel open, honest, and comfortable talking to your doctor.
In fact, a study conducted by Kelton Research for the Arnold P. Gold Foundation found that less than half of survey respondents could describe their doctor's recent conduct as attentive, communicative, or compassionate at their last medical visit.
"Many past studies have shown a strong correlation between patient and doctor satisfaction and better overall patient outcomes when doctors develop a relationship with their patients," said Arnold P. Gold, MD, founder of the Arnold P. Gold Foundation. "What this survey shows us is that patients are still craving for their physician to see the 'person' behind the prognosis and really want a 'connectedness' with their doctor.”
A cold or rude demeanor that discourages communication can ultimately be the downfall of a doctor, causing many issues. For instance, if a patient dreads visiting their doctor or is not comfortable enough to be honest with them, important details will be left out that could ultimately help the doctor treat the patient more effectively. Similarly, if the doctor is not able to explain to the patient what is going on with their bodies, answer questions, or give clear directions, the patient may not be able to properly execute the treatment plan due to lack of understanding. Effective communication is key to being a good doctor.
3. They take time to understand your needs and don’t rush through appointments.
No one wants to feel rushed when it comes to getting their needs met, especially in relation to healthcare where it has such a strong impact on a person’s overall wellbeing. We are all complex people with unique bodies, circumstances, and experiences—This is why it is absolutely essential that your health care provider views you as the individual you are, rather than just a series of numbers, and takes the time to understand your personal needs.
Although a doctor may have many patients to juggle and a tight schedule to navigate, you should never be treated like another task to scratch off of a to-do list. Your time is just as valuable as your doctor’s, and you deserve to receive the thorough treatment that you require to feel better. When a doctor takes time to sit down with you, have a conversation, and understand your experience and needs, you are more likely to feel cared for, trust their judgment, and follow offered medical advice.
4. The doctor treats you with respect and is willing to find solutions that work for both of you.
While you may not be a health expert, your doctor should always treat you with respect and take your thoughts and feelings into consideration. The doctor-patient relationship is not meant to be one-sided, but rather a mutual collaboration working towards a common goal together. Although health care professionals might have their own opinions on what is best for you, at the end of the day, you are the one that has to wake up in your body every day and experience the effects of their treatments. A sign of a good doctor is when they are willing to find a solution that you both can feel good about.
5. They have good reviews from other patients.
Finally, an obvious sign that you have found a good doctor is when they have received many great reviews from their other patients. Reading evaluations from a patient’s perspective, whether negative or positive, provides you with an overview of the doctor’s strengths and weaknesses, giving you a good idea of what to expect when interacting with them.
Scrolling through reviews is also an opportunity for you to reflect on what qualities are most important to you in a healthcare provider. What are qualities that a doctor must possess in order for you to be satisfied? Now is the time to figure out your “must haves” and “deal breakers,” so you can choose a doctor that is right for you. Remember you deserve the best, and you should never have to compromise.