How To Pick The Best Doctor For You: 5 Questions To Ask

August 22, 2016
by Tony Barber
How To Pick The Best Doctor For You: 5 Questions To Ask

When you’re on the road, it’s easy to let your health slide onto the back burner.

But taking care of yourself is important. Long-haul truck drivers like you are more likely than other people to have diabetes or high blood pressure (American Journal of Industrial Medicine, January 2014).

A doctor can help you prevent those problems. Or, if you already have them, a doctor can give you prescriptions and guidance to help you stay on the road.

“But how do I pick a doctor?” people often ask. Obviously, you’ll want one within your insurance network, and probably close to home. Here are 5 other questions to keep in mind.

1. Is He Board Certified?

Every doctor who practices medicine in the US has a basic license. They have had 4 years of medical school. Then they’ve gotten on-the-job experience with 1 or 2 years of residency. But that doesn’t mean they’re experts in a specialty, like:

  • lung disease
  • cardiology
  • ear, nose, and throat issues
  • Internal medicine

Doctors take special board exams through the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). This helps them get certified for their specialty. In order to stay certified, they must keep up with new advances in their field.

You can see if your doctor is board-certified by checking the ABMS directory.

2. Are There Complaints About Her?

It’s one thing to not like a doctor’s personality. It’s another to file an official complaint.

If you feel like your doctor has been unethical or unprofessional, you can lodge a complaint. The doctor’s practice or hospital might take action, according to the American Medical Association. In some cases, the doctor will be reported to the state’s medical society or licensing board.

If you want to check on complaints against a doctor, some state licensing boards will give you that information for free, or for a small fee. The Federation of State Medical Boards also has a service called DocInfo. It lets you see if a doctor has ever been disciplined by a board.

3. How Are His Reviews?

Sites like Yelp aren’t just for restaurants and stores. They’re also for doctors. You can do a general search for “doctor,” or for a specialist like “cardiologist.” Then, you can read reviews about everything from wait times to friendliness.

Just remember: A doctor with great reviews might be nice, but he might not be the world’s best doctor. And a couple of bad reviews doesn’t mean that the doctor is bad—he might have just been the wrong doctor for that patient. Reviews can be a great jumping-off point. But take them with a grain of salt.

4. Does He Have A Web Portal?

It used to be that if you had a question, you called your doctor’s office, left a message, then waited for him to call back. Now, it can be much easier. Many doctors have web portals, which let you:

  • message your doctor
  • make appointments
  • see your medical history
  • ask for a prescription refill

Web portals can be a huge time-saver. If you’re constantly on the road and can’t always take care of personal issues during normal business hours, an online portal is perfect. Also, if you find yourself at a doctor’s office or hospital when you’re driving out of town, you’ll be able to get your records easily.

5. Is His Schedule Convenient?

Driving a truck means sticking to a schedule—someone else’s schedule. When you need to get something to a certain place at a certain time, there isn’t always room for flexibility.

Before choosing a doctor, it helps to ask questions about his schedule.

Here are some extra tips on finding a medical examiner that can certify you as able and fit to drive commercially.