What To Ask A Doctor During A Get-To-Know-You Consultation

If you have to find a new doctor, it's best to set up short consultations with the ones you're considering before you actually need to see a doctor. There is nothing worse than having to deal with a personality clash while you are in distress. Find your new doctor now, though, and you'll have a lot more confidence when you have to go in for actual treatment. The ability to suss out whether a doctor is a good match or not is fairly simple to develop.

Patient Cooperation Versus Autonomy

Patients have the legal right to decline a procedure. This is not just a fluffy belief; it is your right enshrined in law, and you should be able to find a statement to that effect on your clinic's patient-rights page. The exceptions to this are rare and usually involve highly communicable diseases or conditions that make you a threat to others. A good doctor will respect this right, even if they don't agree with the patient's decision.

However, some doctors expect patients to do exactly as they say, even if the patient has stated repeatedly that they are refusing the test, medication, or what have you. You need to ask this new doctor what they would do if you refused a test that they had recommended, even if you can't imagine yourself refusing to follow doctor's orders. Would they drop you as a patient? Would they have you sign an acknowledgment that you were advised and that you refused? Or, when you ask, do they seem dismissive of your concerns?

How Amenable Are They to Alternative and Complementary Treatment

Many people have turned to alternative and complementary medicine because they don't want to take tons of medication. For many, this has worked well, and a lot of doctors are on board with the concept. Others are still skeptical of meditation, yoga, herbal concoctions, and so on, so if you are interested in these modalities, ask what the new doctor thinks of them. If the doctor isn't impressed by them, would the doctor still be willing to at least have an open mind? Some doctors don't like alternative medicine but won't stop a patient from trying the modalities as long as they aren't harmful.

What Questions Do They Have For You?

Also, ask the doctor what questions they would want to ask you. They may want to know why you are searching for a new doctor or how you have handled disagreements with doctors in the past. Do they have an idea of what a good patient would be like? Does that match how you approach your health?

You may have to talk to a few doctors to find the right one -- referrals help, but sometimes your friend's favorite doctor doesn't seem like the right one for you -- but eventually, you will find someone whose attitude toward medicine and health is similar to yours.