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How do I choose the right doctor?

It can be hard to know who the right person is to help yourself or your aging parent. One important decision we are all faced with is how to choose the right doctor to help us navigate the changes that come with aging. 

Here are six things to keep in mind when making the decision: 

Experience: 

It’s important to review the physician’s education and training and ensure that his or her board certifications are still current. You can find this information online or by asking the physician or their office’s receptionist directly.  

Personality and Empathy: 

Before committing to a physician, schedule a brief 15-minute interview to help determine if his or her disposition and medical philosophy are the right fit. 

Hospital Affiliation:  

Confirm that the doctor is affiliated with your preferred hospital and that the hospital is conveniently located.

Office:  

Look for a doctor whose office staff is friendly and organized. Offices that use electronic outpatient records and electronic prescribing are also preferable.

Availability: 

Find out the average wait time to see the doctor, if the practice offers same-day urgent appointments, and if the doctor or their colleagues are available for calls after hours. In addition, determine who the doctor of record will be if you or your parent is admitted to the hospital and what the system of communication will be with the hospital physician on admission, during hospitalization, and then on discharge from the hospital.

Insurance:  

Check to ensure that the practice accepts your or your parent’s medical insurance and, if not, find out if it is possible to change medical plans.

Hebrew SeniorLife has specialized care geriatric primary care for seniors. Our Hebrew SeniorLife geriatricians are able to provide continuous, coordinated and seamless care, whether you are in a Boston hospital, at one of Hebrew SeniorLife’s post-acute care facilities, or at home. We also offer podiatry and geriatric psychiatric service.

For more information, you can visit Hebrew SeniorLife’s medical group.

Jennifer Rhodes-Kropf, M.D.'s picture

About the Blogger

Geriatrician

Dr. Rhodes-Kropf, is a staff geriatrician at HRC. She received her medical degree from the University of North Carolina and completed her internal medicine internship at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and her residency in internal medicine at Cornell University/New York Presbyterian Medical Center. Dr. Rhodes-Kropf, an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School, completed a geriatrics fellowship at Mount Sinai Hospital.

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