New Doctor Questions
Last updated: May 2023
Being chronically ill often includes interacting with different and new health professionals. There
might even be times when you have to seek out a new doctor or specialist yourself.
Essential questions when choosing the right healthcare provider
When looking for a new doctor or specialist, finding someone who meets your healthcare needs and makes you feel comfortable is important. Here are some ideas for questions you can ask when searching for a new GP or specialist to help you decide if they are going to be a good fit!
There are three basic categories of questions we will cover:
- Aptitude questions
- Approach questions
- Administrative questions
These are questions you want to ask about the doctor or specialist's basic competency and educational history. These can include questions like:
- What is your educational and training background?
- Are you board certified?
- What experience and education do you have in dealing with my particular health condition(s)?
- Do you have experience coordinating care with family doctors, specialists, hospitals or other
- How do you approach preventative or screening tests?
How do you address prescription refills and medication management?
These questions will help you determine whether the health professional will be a good fit for you in ways outside their formal training. Asking questions about a healthcare professional's experience working with marginalized communities or diagnoses may be scary.
However, asking approach questions can also be a good indicator of the likelihood of having a stigmatizing experience. Questions that can help you to determine if their approach is going to work for you can look like this:
- What is your philosophy of care?
- What is your communication style? Do you prefer direct or more gentle communication?
- What are your policies on patient involvement in making care decisions?
- How do you interact with patients who have stigmatized or marginalized diagnoses?
The last category of questions you should ask when looking for a new doctor is “administrative.” These are questions relating to the practical operation of the doctor and their office. Questions that you should ask in this category are:
- What are your office hours, and how do you handle after-hours emergencies?
- How do you prefer to communicate with patients? (phone, email, in-person, virtually)
- What insurance plans do you accept, and what are your billing policies?
- What administrative or office fees do you charge and when?
- Do you offer telehealth or virtual care?
- What is your process for complaints and dispute resolution?
Finding a new doctor or specialist can be daunting. Especially when living with a highly stigmatized diagnosis like hepatitis C. Knowing what questions to ask when deciding if a new healthcare provider is a good fit can help us make informed decisions about our health and well-being. Knowing your healthcare provider's history, guiding principles, and how they operate can go a long way in providing peace of mind and building trust.
We all deserve to feel confident in our healthcare providers and to know we are in good hands!
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