There are more than 200,000 practicing primary care physicians in the United States.
And that’s just one reason why it can be a daunting task to try and find a great doctor.
It’s also tough because you imagine your medical practitioner to possess a slew of must-have qualities. They should be compassionate and empathetic. But they should also be whip-smart and skilled.
But if you know exactly how to weigh up these characteristics and other vital factors, then you can find the right doctor to serve you. Here’s how to find a great doctor.
1. A Great Doctor Has Serious Drive
Four years of college, four years of medical school, internships, residencies, fellowships — it takes a lot of training to become a doctor.
The fact that great doctors near you have gotten through such extensive training is one indicator that they have the drive necessary to succeed. Indeed, becoming a doctor requires them to maintain that work ethic for the duration of their career.
A great doctor will be prepared for any challenge. They will exhaust all options in your treatment and point you to other experts if they’re unable to provide a remedy for you.
If you don’t feel like your current primary care doctor works this hard, then it’s time to look for someone with the right amount of motivation.
2. A Great Doctor is Compassionate
You should trust your doctor’s training when it comes to their diagnostics and care.
However adept they are at the scientific side of things, though, they should be equally as compassionate with you throughout your treatment process.
A medical practitioner’s compassion can be the difference between a stressful visit to the doctor’s office and a soothing one. So, seek out a doctor with reviews that highlight their ability to empathize with patients.
3. A Great Doctor Has the Right Amount of Confidence
Sometimes, you go to the doctor for a routine check-up. Other times, you’re quite literally putting your life in your physician’s hands.
Either way, you want to receive care from someone confident in the diagnosis they provide. Such assertiveness will make you feel comfortable and confident in your doctor, as well.
Of course, don’t stick with your doctor if they seem dismissive of fears or concerns you have. Confidence shouldn’t come at the price of your care, so try and find a great doctor near you who has just the right amount of assuredness.
4. A Great Doctor Speaks Clearly
On that note, you don’t want a doctor who explains everything that’s going on — and still leaves you feeling confused as to what’s going on.
A 2001 to 2002 study pinpointed the seven traits that patients wanted in a doctor. One of their top choices was forthrightness, and they defined that trait very simply. A great doctor “tells me what I need to know in plain language and in a forthright manner,” they said.
So, if you find yourself confused by what your doctor has said or how they want to treat you, seek out someone clearer.
5. A Great Doctor Gets to Know Their Patients
Sometimes, you need to seek out emergency medical care. You don’t have much time to get to know the physicians in the emergency room, as they’re bouncing from patient to patient.
You don’t want to have the same experience with your primary care doctor, though. They’re meant to tackle your day-to-day health issues. You want to feel comfortable telling them what’s going on with you.
So, try and find someone personable who aims to get to know you. Of course, you don’t have to be best friends with your doctor. A great one will build a friendly rapport, though.
6. A Great Doctor Respects Your Concerns
Another essential trait to find in your primary care doctor is their level of respect for you.
Some doctors might brush off your concerns or fail to investigate symptoms that have been plaguing you. Don’t let this behavior slide — it’s your primary care doctor’s job to help you.
Instead, find a doctor who’s respectful enough to take your concerns seriously. Even if they take time to explain why what you’re experiencing isn’t dangerous, that’s much more thoughtful than dismissing fears entirely.
7. A Great Doctor Performs Thorough Check-Ups
On that note, you don’t want to feel like your doctor breezed through your check-up.
There will always be days when a doctor has a busy or backed-up schedule. You might get a shorter consultation with them because of the backlog. But this shouldn’t happen every time you visit the doctor.
Instead, a great doctor will give you the head-to-toe check-up that you require. You want to leave feeling like your doctor has looked over your concerns thoroughly.
8. A Great Doctor Has Good Reviews
Finally, you can pinpoint a great doctor near you by searching for patients’ reviews of medical practice and its practitioners.
You should always read online reviews with a grain of salt. However, with multiple good — or bad — ratings, you can quickly get a good idea of the quality of care you’ll receive.
A great doctor will impress the majority of their patients, thus cultivating the positive reviews that will inspire you to visit their practice.
There’s a Great Doctor Near You, Too
You may not have found a great doctor yet, but don’t give up hope.
These eight categories can help you narrow down your search. And, soon enough, you’ll find the right practitioner to get you back on your feet — and feeling great, inside and out.