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How to Choose a Doctor

Learning how to choose a doctor is important to your health and wellness. However, finding the right doctor for your needs isn’t always as easy as it might seem. In order to make the right choice, you need to consider a number of different factors including medical specialty, training, experience and location.

Types of Doctors
You can choose from several different types of doctors, such as oncologists (cancer specialists) to eye doctors (ophthalmologists). Each doctor will have varying levels of training and experience. For example, optometrists are eye doctors trained to examine, diagnose, treat and manage some diseases and disorders of the eye and visual system. The optometrists are trained to examine the internal and external structure of the eyes and to detect and treat some eye diseases. However, optometrists have not attended medical school, nor do they perform eye surgery and are not trained to care for and manage all diseases and disorders of the eyes.

Ophthalmologists, on the other hand, are eye doctors who specialize in the medical and surgical care of the eyes as well as the prevention and treatment of eye diseases. They can be either doctors of medicine (MD) or doctors of osteopathy (DO). An ophthalmologist has completed four years of pre-medical undergraduate education, four years of medical school, one year of internship and three or more years of specialized medical and surgical training in eye care. Finding the right specialist for your needs may require some effort, but the results can be well worth the work.

Researching Your Options
There are many places to find information on physicians, many people start by asking family, friends and co-workers for recommendations. Other doctors and area hospitals are also a great place to get referrals to top-notch physicians.


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The doctor you choose should have proper and adequate training to diagnose, treat and prevent disease and illness. An accredited medical institution should certify any physician you choose. Also, the respective state medical board should also license your doctor.

Determining Your Needs
When learning how to choose a physician, you should consider the physician’s specialty and experience in dealing with a range of diseases and conditions. The physician’s experience is important. No matter what your specific needs are, you need to examine some important factors. Was the exam thorough? Did the doctor answer all of your concerns and advise you of any possible complications? Is the location and insurance coverage for a particular physician right for you? After you visit your physician, determine if you were satisfied and comfortable with the care that the doctor provided before making a commitment.

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