Here are some important questions to ask if you’re interviewing a doctor or seeing a new doctor for the first time. If you already have an established relationship with a doctor, you may know the answers to most of these questions. If not, take some time during your next visit to learn the answers.
- Are you Board Certified?
- If you are Board Certified, by which Board? In which specialty?
- Do you participate in the ABMS Maintenance of Certification® program? What does this involve?
- Where did you attend medical school? How long have you been in practice?
- Which hospitals do you use? Are they accredited?
- What are your office hours?
- Who covers for you when you are unavailable?
- How long does it usually take to get a routine appointment?
- How long is the typical office wait?
- Will I have to pay if I cancel an appointment?
- Does the office send reminders about prevention tests?
- What do I do if I need urgent care or have an emergency?
- Do you or someone in your office speak the language that I am most comfortable using?
- Do you (or a nurse or physician assistant) give advice over the phone for common medical problems?
- Do you use electronic medical records?
- Do you perform routine X-rays and laboratory services in your office?
- Do you survey your patients? How do you use the findings?
In addition to these general questions, you may wish to ask questions tailored to doctors in a particular specialty or subspecialty. For example, if you are considering a surgical procedure, you may want to ask how frequently the doctor performs this procedure, what the potential risks are and what the recovery involves.
A helpful resource for additional questions is the Question Builder tool from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.