How to Choose a Doctor

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  • How can my doctor and I be partners in my healthcare?
  • How can I choose a doctor?
  • Where can I go for more information?

How can my doctor and I be partners in my healthcare?

Choosing a doctor is an important part of taking care of yourself. You and your doctor can form a partnership where you can learn from and help each other.

In this relationship, you each have a job to do. Your job is to learn as much as you can about your own and your family's medical history, and to communicate this to your doctor. Talk openly to your doctor. Your doctor depends on you to tell her about your signs and symptoms. She needs your knowledge of when the symptoms started, what brings relief, what makes them worse, and what medications you are using or have used.

Your doctor's job is to help you take care of yourself by giving you the information you need to make decisions about your health. You depend on your doctor to help you understand why you feel the way you do and what your symptoms mean. Your doctor's role is not only to explain things in terms you can understand, but also to give you a correct diagnosis and the appropriate treatment.

How can I choose a doctor?

Get the names of several doctors and interview them before making a choice. Think ahead of time about what you want in a doctor and what you want to know about them.

Consider asking them the following questions:

  • How long has she been practicing?
  • Is she affiliated with a hospital? If yes, which one?
  • Does she have expertise in any particular areas? If yes, which ones?
  • Who covers for her when she is not available?
  • Does she have time to adequately address your concerns?
  • Does she return phone calls?

If you feel comfortable talking openly with your doctor about your health concerns, then you are on the way to developing a positive partnership with her. This will be especially important if you have a chronic disease and your relationship with her is long-term.

Where can I go for more information?

You can call your provincial College of Physicians and Surgeons. They can provide you with names of doctors who are taking on new clients.

College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia

College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta

College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan

College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba

College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario

Collège des médecins du Québec

College of Physicians and Surgeons of New Brunswick

College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia

College of Physicians and Surgeons of Prince Edward Island

College of Physicians and Surgeons of Newfoundland and Labrador

Yukon Medical Council

Northwest Territories Medical Association

See also:

Revised February 2013.