How do you choose a Healthcare Practitioner?

We choose our favorite grocery store by comparing prices, location, selection, convenience and friendliness of the clerks. That is an important choice for our health and checkbook. 

We choose our accountant based on their experience, convenience, organization and the manner in which they and their staff work with us.

We choose our car service center based on experience, convenience, price, and efficiency. 

So, whether it’s our grocer, accountant or car repair, we make important decisions on where to buy our groceries, have our bookkeeping done or car serviced. So, when it comes to you and your family’s health, what factors do you use to make your decision? It is the most important decision, health-wise, that you will make. 

But first, let’s define a “healthcare practitioner.” It is basically this: a health care provider. It could be a general physician, dentist, psychologist, nurse, gynecologist, oncologist, chiropractor, alternative health care, even a caseworker or any long number of healthcare providers.    

As a healthcare practitioner myself, and as someone who also has to choose who treats me and my family, I have compiled a list of factors to use when choosing a healthcare practitioner that may help you make your decision:

  1. Find a practitioner who believes you: No one knows your health better than you. You know your family history. You know what hurts and how it affects your daily life, career, and family. You need to find a practitioner who believes you and will be inquisitive about your history. So, they should believe your situation and create treatments or a practitioner team that believes and understands you.     
  2. Interview them before you choose them: Finding a health practitioner is like an employer finding a job. You need to ask a lot of pertinent questions as they will be treating you after all. Be skeptical. Ask about the treatments they would recommend. Ask them about their staff. (I’ll do a future blog on questions you should ask!) 
  3. Tour their offices: Ask them for a tour of their offices. Is it clean? Is their privacy? How are you treated by the staff? Are your confidential records stored in a cryptically-secure computer file and/or a locked file cabinet? Is there a spot in the waiting room for small children to play? Is it handicap-accessible? Is the office in a safe section of town? Is parking convenient? Make sure that these all meet your standards.        
  4. Do they sell or recommend supplements?: Many healthcare providers, especially chiropractors or alternative health care practitioners, sell or recommend supplements. This is an acceptable practice as there are many credible and proven supplements available on the market today. In fact, if they offer supplements along with prescriptions, this is a good sign meaning they are open to offering Vitamin D, probiotics and Omega 3. 
  5. How much time is an average appointment?: There is nothing worse than being treated like cattle, rushing you through and leaving. While volume is important for any business, your health care practitioner should take their time in listening to you, examining you and treating you. So, find out how long an average appointment is and if this is acceptable to you.       
  6. Do you like them personally?: It is one thing to respect your healthcare provider for their knowledge and experience. It is quite another to actually “like” them. It is not necessary to like them. They could be abrasive and arrogant in manner, yet be completely thorough and credible. It helps if their bedside manner is friendly and humble but not required. Make sure you can live with their professional attitude, no matter how friendly or unfriendly they may be.     
  7. Ask for three referrals and look up reviews: If you have chosen your new practitioner, don’t sign on the dotted line until you have asked around. Check with family, co-workers, neighbors, friends about who they recommend. Also, do your homework online by checking Yelp, Facebook, Zocdoc, Google My Business and a number of other sites.   
  8. Make your decision after meeting with your family: Once you have made your decision, meet with family and friends and confirm with them. Their support and affirmation on this most important decision are crucial. They want the best for you and each other. 

We all have important decisions to make. Some are easy. Some are difficult. Choosing your healthcare practitioner needs time and research. Once you have chosen them, it could be the wisest decision you have ever made and one that may make your life and other loved ones better. 

Body Equilibrium Cville, Charlottesville, Virginia, offers compassionate, experienced and through health care from chiropractic care to detoxification therapy to Rapid Release Treatment (RRT) and a number of other healthcare services. Call Dr. Alisa Gates at (434) 975-5674 for a consultation.