Finding the Right Doctor: Medical Doctor (MD)
Finding the right physician or health care provider can be challenging when you have the symptoms of a medical condition that is difficult to diagnose. It becomes even more challenging when you are diagnosed and are not sure what path your treatments need to take.
What are some considerations for finding the best medical doctor for me?
- Consider the education of your health care provider or MD. Their license should be readily posted in the office with the college and the University of their residency. Don’t be afraid to ask. (The minimum education of a MD is usually 4 years premed, 4 years of medical school, and at least one year of Residency in their field of interest. Chiropractors and Osteopathic physicians have similar if not more classroom time.)
- Years of experience in caring for the diseases and conditions you are seeking treatment for. Ask or you won’t know. Along with asking about years of experience, ask about the number of cases with your condition they treat.
- Consider the connections your doctor has to clinical trials or other medical experts that can offer insight into your condition. Is it a big city practice associated with a University or is it a family practice doctor in a small town basing his decisions on what was learned years before?
How can you find a doctor who has education or is board certified in integrative and functional medicine? What is integrative and functional medicine?
It is important to ask your primary physician for his credentials and ask to be referred to specialists who are also board certified. You can visit your state government website to check the credentials of any physician who is board certified and licensed in your state.
Physicians who practice medicine with mind, body, and spirit as a whole are considered to practice integrative and functional medicine. They practice in a way to meet the entire needs of a client and will be comfortable prescribing alternative treatment if it will benefit the client.
This information can be obtained by discussing the philosophy of the doctor on the first visit. It can also be discovered by seeking other credentials and interests the doctor lists as part of the mission of the practice.
What is the best doctor who could look at all of my autoimmune conditions holistically? Or is my best bet to use a medical center with coordinated care between the team of doctors?
The best doctor for your individual needs is one that you feel comfortable with, confident in, and who has experience in treating your autoimmune condition. It is a personal choice whether you choose a private physician or a large medical center with a coordinated team of doctors. It is often based on what area of the country you live in and your proximity to larger medical centers.
Questions to ask your doctor at the first visit to understand their medical perspective as an insight on future treatments:
- What is your philosophy when treating autoimmune conditions?
- How do you feel about holistic medicine in relation to autoimmune conditions?
- Do you have available resources or qualified physicians that you use for referrals?
- Are you familiar with integral and functional medicine and do you use it in your practice?
- Are you comfortable with treating autoimmune conditions?
About the Author
Terri Forehand is a critical care nurse and freelance writer. She is the author The Cancer Prayer Book and a soon to be released picture book titled The ABC’s of Cancer According to Lilly Isabella Lane. She writes from her home where she lives with her husband and an array of rescue dogs nestled in the hills of Brown County, Indiana.
This blog post was originally published by AutoimmuneMom.com, written by Terri Forehand, and first published on Jun 25, 2012.
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