Thursday, August 19, 2010, AM | Leave Comment
When you choose a physician for your family, do you actually research for the doctor’s accreditation and other qualifications? Bedside manners may be important to most – communicating well with patient, not looking down on you like you are a piece of s***. You can get to know and feel about the doctor’s behavior on your first visit. You can also get information from your family and friends and from online sites like Vitals.
When my kids were a lot younger, we did some research but not a whole lot for selecting physician for them. Luckily we found a medical group that was run by next-door hospital. There were two physicians that we liked. As a matter of fact, both became good friends over the years. They had all the qualifications that we cared for and didn’t switch them until one of the doctors retired and moved to another state.
However, “technically” speaking…
Is the doctor you have selected for your family very good if not excellent in the medical profession? Sometimes we read that a doctor was not board-certified or had some other qualifications missing. A doctor friend of mine was not licensed in the state to write prescription and he did anyway because there was no other doctor available at the time. He was asked to resign.
When a doctor is working in the hospital, that does not necessarily make the physician fit for writing prescriptions. I did research online, asking personal doctor friends of mine questions and I came up with three qualifications that should be important for selecting your physician. Of course, besides excellent bedside manners. They must be reliable in getting the right medical care you deserve.
The physician has to be board certified…
Your selected physician has to be board certified in the field that you are particularly interested in. To be certified, the physician must have graduated from an accredited residency program as well as passed the governing board’s certification exam. According to the Journal of General Internal Medicine, 75% of primary care doctors provide sub-standard colon cancer screening care because they were not board certified in that particular field.
The physician must have report card on quality…
Someone who suffered a serious ailment like a heart attack gets drastically different care. And might not get the life saving medication the patient needs to prevent a future event. In a case like this, the doctor must consistently follow the guidelines established by the American Heart Association. Do research online and see if your doctor has applied for the NCQA quality recognition designation in any of the programs – Physician Practice Connections, Heart/Stroke, Diabetes, or Back Pain.
The physician must be state-licensed…
My doctor friends say it’s more important to be licensed in the state where the physician is practicing than whether or not the doctor is board certified which, of course, is important in itself as well. Find the physician’s state medical board at Federation of State Medical Boards. Check a couple of things about the physician – license number, when the license was issued, and when it expires. Some states provide history of malpractice suits, felony convictions, or disciplinary action by the medical board.
In a Nutshell
It’s not simply enough that someone has M.D. after the name. There is more to it. Do research and choose the right physician for your family. On a side note, who knows maybe the malpractice suits will be fewer if we as consumers did research about physicians ourselves. That could conceivably lower the medical cost to the consumers.