It’s Not A Blind Date – Important Tips for Interviewing and Choosing a Physician

Would you sign up for marriage on your first date? Probably not! Marriage is a major commitment with lifetime consequences. You want to meet a person, get to know him or her, and see if you are compatible.

Physician relationships are no different. You, as the patient, have the right and the obligation to ask questions before you commit to a physician. You need to find the right fit.

Many people say, “Oh, I don’t want to offend a physician by asking questions.” Nonsense! The good ones will appreciate your honesty and thoughtfulness. If a doctor is offended by your questions, or will not answer, chances are good that he or she is not the right fit.

“I think every patient should ask questions and be involved in decisions about their own healthcare,” says Connie Gnegy, Executive Director of Physician Practices at North Ottawa Medical Group. “Our physicians take it as a good sign when someone asks questions…that means they care, and want to be involved in getting better.”

You should be in the driver’s seat when it comes to making choices about your care. We know that choices can seem scary. It’s much easier to just do what someone says. But your care will be more tailored to your needs when you learn to get comfortable asking questions. You will also gain more respect from your physician, and have a more honest, productive relationship as a result.

Here are some great questions to ask next time you need to choose a physician.

Q: Will you ask me what I want, or tell me what you are doing?”

A: This, perhaps, is the most serious question, because it speaks to motivation and attitude. Good health care involves a partnership between doctor and patient. You need to understand and commit to a plan of action. That’s much easier to do when the plan is designed around your input and preferences.

Q: “Where will you send me for lab work and testing?”

A: The best answer is, “You can go wherever it’s convenient.” If the doctor tells you that you must go to a specific place, ask why. Most health care systems (including North Ottawa) have comprehensive lab services available in multiple locations. You should be able to choose the most convenient option.

Q: “Where will you send me if I need to be hospitalized?”

A: Again, this should be a dialog. A good physician will say, “Where do you want to go? What is most convenient for you?” If the doctor insists on a location that creates challenges for you, you should probably stop and think twice.

Q: “If I want to receive local services, will you help me find options?”

A: This is a very important question, especially if your condition requires frequent visits. Your doctor’s office can and should let you know about the available choices and help you schedule your first appointment, even if you are not using the doctor’s preferred provider.

North Ottawa Medical Group is designed around choice. We want you to receive the absolute best care, with the freedom to choose how and where you receive that care. If ever you have questions, make sure you ask. Our doctors don’t mind!

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