Thursday, December 22, 2016

Doctor Search

Dana Farber Cancer Institute just released this list of what to look for in an oncologist. I just think that they are things we should look for in all doctors.

I have ditched doctors who didn't have all these:
  • Communication - why have a doctor who doesn't talk to you.
  • Specific expertise - I wouldn't want a dermatologist to treat my rheumatoid arthritis but I would want them to remove funky looking moles. I would also want my oncologist to specialize in breast cancer.
  • Willingness to collaborate - this is exactly why I am getting a new pain management doctor: he won't let his patients talk to someone else and then go back to him - meaning no second opinions if you are his patient.
  • Access to new technologies - if my doctor is not using the newest technologies to treat me, I don't want them. I had a gastroenterologist in the mid 1980s. At that time he was the head of the department. I went back to him around 2009 and he was still writing paper notes, and only looking at his hand written notes. 
  • Emphasis on personalized treatment - I am not a number. I am an individual. I have a million (or so) ailments and I want a doctor to take all of those into account.
  • Focus on the whole person - please don't just treat my breast cancer but look at the rest of me and suggest things that will benefit my entire body and think about my emotions and mental state.
  • Someone with your style - actually, someone who will adapt to my style. I know how much information I want to hear and will ask you questions. I expect educated answers and references to where I can find additional information.
  • A good team on their side - its not just an individual doctor that treats you. You have to deal with everyone from the person who calls you to make an appointment to the nurse who checks your vitals when you get there and answers questions when the doctor isn't available in person. 
This is a good list to review and consider when looking at any doctor.

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