Choosing a doctor can be difficult. At first glance, the need for patients to have an empathetic physician may not seem that important. However, for frequent care, or any surgery or procedures, having a doctor that one likes and trusts is quite important. Doctors should be chosen based on more than just location, recommendations, and experience. There are several traits patients should look for when selecting a new doctor.
A new study conducted at Michigan State University indicates that having an empathetic doctor can decrease the awareness of pain. Research had already proven that patients with empathetic doctors had better health outcomes, but this is the first study of its kind to show that empathetic doctors can impact pain perception. It is recommended that patients pay attention to how their physician makes them feel. If the physician is not empathetic, it may be time for a new doctor.
Not in a Hurry
A quality doctor should take the time to listen to patient concerns. Even if he or she has a waiting room full of patients to see, each patient should be made to feel as if they are the only patient at the time. Correctly diagnosing a condition and prescribing a medication or treatment requires doctors to slow down and pay attention to their patients as individuals.
Gets Adequate Rest
Doctors should always be well rested and on high alert. Doctors who do not sleep well, or sleep very little, can be more dangerous and their judgment can be lacking. Patients who see a doctor that yawns constantly or appears frequently with circles under their eyes may want to look for a new physician. Many people do not know that patients have the right to ask their doctor if they have received adequate rest.
Up to Date
Good doctors are not necessarily the ones who have been in practice the longest. Many times newer doctors know best when it comes to newer procedures and the latest treatments. Local teaching hospitals can offer doctors who have experience with the latest in new procedures and techniques. It can be especially beneficial to have a newly trained doctor when having a laparoscopic, robotic, or cosmetic procedure.
A good doctor also listens to and validates patient concerns, as trivial as they may seem to the doctor. Patients should feel comfortable speaking to their doctor about anything and not feel judged. A doctor who criticizes or dismisses concerns or lifestyles is probably not one that is trusted and should be dismissed from patient care.
Quality doctors should always keep their patient relationships professional. Flirting or discussing personal details of a patient’s life takes the relationship out of the medical realm and is unethical. This behavior can make doctors less focused on patient care and the health of their patients. Patients are less likely to discuss some of their embarrassing health issues or cosmetic concerns if the doctor-patient relationship seems more than friendly.
Finding a good doctor can be a difficult task. However, patients who have doctors with all of these traits are predisposed to be happier and healthier. With health and happiness on the line, it is important to find a doctor who has empathy, takes the time to listen to and validate concerns, keeps the relationship professional and keeps up to date on advancements in the practice.