Dr. Greene’s Answer:
Determining a physician’s qualifications is fairly simple. If a doctor does not meet your standards, you can easily eliminate him or her as a candidate and move on. Here are some questions you can ask that will help you determine her or his qualifications:
- Where did he or she complete undergraduate school?
- Did she or he receive honors?
- What medical school did he or she attend?
- Where did she or he complete Residency?
- Did he or she serve as a Chief Resident? (If so, he or she was the top of the class and judged to be good with people.)
- Is she or he Board Certified? (All physicians are licensed, but not all are certified.)
- What is he or she doing to continue training? (The AMA gives a “Physician’s Recognition Award” to those in practice who actively pursue continuing education.)
While many excellent doctors didn’t complete their educations at top-ranked schools, finding out their stories is worthwhile. You may want to ask each one why he or she chose a particular medical school and a particular field of medicine. Probe about the methods used to stay current with rapidly expanding medical knowledge. How she or he handles these questions will give you a lot of information.
In addition to looking at a doctor’s qualifications, consider finding a doctor that you trust. Find a doctor whose style and mannerisms appeal to you; a doctor who you feel is listening to you and understands you.
Last reviewed: May 14, 2008