4 Things to Look for When Visiting a New Doctor

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Seeing a new doctor for the first time can be intimidating because you don’t really know what to expect. Will you get there and be mistreated, or will everything go smoothly as usual? In most cases, transferring to a new care provider is no big deal, as the majority of licensed healthcare providers are well-educated about the rules and guidelines of how to deal with patients. However, medical malpractice is still a thing and there are many clinics, hospitals, and private practices that aren’t as exemplary as they should be. That being said, here are four things to look for when visiting a new doctor for the first time.

1.      Cleanliness and Sanitation

First and foremost, your new doctor and their nursing staff should be wearing gloves when they’re handling anything that could cause cross-contamination or other biohazards. If you rarely see your doctor or nurses using medical gloves, that’s certainly a cause for concern. Most disposable gloves used in doctors’ offices are nitrile gloves, which are typically blue. Aside from gloves, check out the surfaces of the floors, walls, and counters to see if they appear to be frequently cleaned.

2.      Courtesy and Respect

While sanitation and procedure are definitely the chief concerns, the way you’re treated is equally important. Pay attention to body language and the way you’re spoken to. If your doctor is overly brief of frank with you and doesn’t allow you to finish your sentence or shrugs off your questions, look elsewhere for a physician. In some professions, manners don’t matter as much as results, but when you’re dealing with the person who is responsible for your health, it’s a different story.

3.      Attentiveness and Awareness

In addition to being kind and clean, your new doctor should also be attentive to your needs and curiosities. Likewise, they should show that they’re aware of symptoms or problems you’re currently having at the time of the visit (i.e. – heavy breathing, sweating, high blood pressure, etc). If your doctor is dismissive and brushes over your check-ups like it’s an oil change, you may want to go somewhere else.

4.      Waiting Room Quality

While the waiting room shouldn’t be your top priority, it’s definitely an indicator of how much the establishment cares about the comfort of its patients. A good waiting room will be spacious, airy, well-decorated, and stocked with things to keep you entertained, such as magazines and a large television. Ideally, there should also be a phone for you to use and/or easy access to a desk clerk who can help you access information or relay details to the physician who is about to see you.

You Have the Right to Choose Your Medical Provider

Many people deal with whatever type of treatment they get at their doctor’s office because they’ve become accustomed to thinking that they don’t really have a choice. In fact, you have the right to visit whatever doctor you’d like. Of course, it’s wise to choose from providers that accept your insurance, but beyond that obvious limitation, you aren’t required to stay with the same care provider if you’re not satisfied with their behavior or performance.


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