Best Doctors 2010: How To Choose a Primary Care Physician

Doctors are like coaches and teachers, says Dr. Ellen Rome, head of the section of adolescent medicine at the Cleveland Clinic. “One bad one can sour you to the whole experience,” she says. To form a winning team, ask friends, co-workers and other doctors for suggestions then do your homework.

Evaluate the doctor’s style. “Do you want the world’s expert who may have the bedside manner of a fish, or does that warm and fuzzy manner mean more?” Rome asks. Use the front desk and nurses as resources.

Assess the entire practice. Do its hours meet your needs? Are you OK with the other doctors who you might see? “If you only like one person in the practice, you may want to look for one with a stronger bench.”

Consider insurance. If the doctor isn’t under your coverage, is he or she worth the expenses? “You don’t want to end up underutilizing your doctor out of desire to avoid co-pays.”

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