How to find the "best" physician in your area…

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Do you have any health concern needing attention? How should one actually go about looking for the “best doctor” if you need medical advice?

Such questions only come up to the minds of most Filipinos during medical emergencies were choices are usually limited. I frequently end up seeing patients who have been through a number of physicians but don’t have any idea about what they just went through or why.Thus, patients and relatives end up in a dissatisfying doctor-patient relationship or  worst, end up in the arguing courts rather than quality medical service. Not that I am better than the rest, but certainly such predicament put so much pressure on the MD and patients alike that quality service to patients suffer most.

Here’s some tips I can give to patients or parents when they’re looking for a physician (or any specialist, like an orthopedic surgeon) if they need medical attention

  1. Ask from a medical practitioner or paramedical personnel you know. The best opinion usually come from someone you know in the medical field, preferably a physician too.
  2. Ask from relatives and friends.Past experiences from previous physician-patient interactions give valuable insights to the quality of patient service.
  3. Browse the net or search online for MDs in your area. In the Philippines such network as Doktorko have listing and profiles of MDs in the area. Some MDs and specialist maintain a website of their own, publishing  the area of expertise, credentials, and clinic time of the physician. Most hospitals also list their doctors and alumni on their websites.
  4. Inquire about the physicians credentials and expertise regarding the health problem you are about to seek consult. It’s not improper if you ask the physician yourself.
  5. Evaluate if you can effectively communicate and trust this physician He might be the most competent specialist in the field but if you cannot communicate with this doctor, chances are you won’t get the satisfying treatment you want.
  6. Opt for a second opinion if you are not satisfied with your physicians interactions. It is alright to inquire for second opinion from other MDs in the field so long as you don’t get confused in the process. As a courtesy, always inform the first doctor you consulted.
  7. Stick with the MD whom you can effectively communicate and trust. The physician’s competency in the field your interested with coupled with good communication and trust, constitute the greatest chance of your problem being addressed satisfyingly.
  8. Ask for recent, evidence based knowledge regarding your medical problem. Check what you researched and read about your medical condition and clarify doubts by asking the physician of choice.
  9. If you need to be referred to another more specialized level of care, ask for a formal referral from your previous physician.
  10. Pay your physician’s services – even with just a warm thank you and smile. Physicians knew all the sad predicaments we have in this world, and chances are with a warm thank you, most of us will all be a lot inspired in our noble work.

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Dr. Remo-tito Aguilar co-founded #HealthXPh. A board certified orthopedic surgeon, he is previously Chief of Clinics at St. Louis Hospital in Tacurong City and a consultant in Orthopedics at the Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City. Dr. Aguilar is a healthcare social media evangelist and writes his medical musings at The Cast & Curious (www.remomd.com).

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