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Choosing a Doctor

Dr. Margit Lister from Wasatch OBGYN has some advice on how to find the right doctor for you and your family.


What Type of Doctor?

First, determine what type of doctor you need. Are you looking for a physician to do routine exams and treat common ailments? A generalist practices general medicine such as internal medicine, family medicine or pediatrics. If you are looking for someone to treat diseases such as heart disease, cancer, or complicated chronic illnesses or if you require surgery, you may need a specialist. Look for a doctor with specialized area of expertise.

Make Sure the Doctor is Board Certified or Board Eligible.

This basic requirement lets you know the physician:

– Graduated from an accepted medical school and completed residency training in their specialty.

– Is registered with the college of their specialty.

– Has an active license to practice medicine within their specialty.

Doctors who are board certified have demonstrated they have the knowledge, experience and skills to provide high-quality care. Find out if a doctor is board certified by visiting the website of medical specialties.

Here are a few:

American Board of Medical Specialties www.abms.org/

The American Board of Internal Medicine www.abim.org

The American Board of Pediatrics www.abp.org

American Board of Family Medicine www.theabfm.org

American College of Obstetrics and gynecology www.acog.org

American board of Surgery www.absurgery.org

Make Sure the Doctor is Affiliated With a Hospital

This enables the doctor to admit patients to a hospital. Hospitals review physician credentials every 2-4 years. They review the doctor privileges, malpractice coverage and any recent claims against the doctor.
They also ensure that the physician is in good physical health to continue to practice medicine.

Explore Electronic Network

More and more people are turning to the internet for medical information and advice. There are many useful resources to help you find a doctor online. Hospitals, insurance companies and local and national health organizations provide online services to help consumers choose a doctor.

Tap into Personal Network

Talk to friends, family, neighbors and co-workers and ask them to recommend a doctor. Information from someone who has first-hand experience with a physician can be invaluable.

Understand What You Want in a Physician

If you want a doctor who will get you in and out of the office fast, that doctor may not have the softest bedside manner. If you want a physician who explains things to you, they may not always run on time.
Consider your personality, your philosophy and your needs. Look for a doctor that meets those needs.

Don’t Be Afraid to Switch Doctors

If you are not comfortable with the care, advice or treatment you are receiving from your doctor, get a second opinion or find a new doctor.

The best way to find a doctor that is right for you and your family is to:
Be an active participant in your health care.
Educate yourself about your medical and healthcare needs.
Remember, you know yourself best!


Dr. Margit Lister is an OBGYN with Intermountain Health Care. If you would like to schedule an appointment, visit: www.intermountainclinics.org.

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