The first visit is a crucial component of your assessment of the doctor. What should the visit look like? Here’s a list of 7 questions to help you assess the first visit with this ideal in mind. These questions will help you determine whether or not this is the physician to whom you want to entrust your care.
1. Do you have a positive first impression when you walk in the door of the doctor’s office?
Does everything about the office and the people in it convey professionalism, compassion, knowledge, intelligence, and a commitment to your well-being? Are the members of the staff organized? Are you treated as a person or just another unit in the long line of things that have to be dealt with today?
2. Does a member of the doctor’s staff interview you before you enter an examination room to see the doctor?
Does the staff person introduce himself and prepare a comprehensive and accurate list of the issues you want to discuss with the doctor? You should be well prepared for this interview by making your own written list of issues in preparation for your visit to the doctor’s office.
3. Does everyone, including the doctor, knock before entering the exam room?
This conveys common courtesy and respect for you and your privacy.
4. Does the doctor introduce himself to you and to anyone you have brought with you?
Anyone you’ve brought with you is important to you. You feel that it’s important for them to be there to help ensure you get good care. Introductions and names are a vital part of the process of managing communication pathways.
5. Does the doctor sit and maintain eye contact?
Impatient doctors in a hurry tend to stand while visiting with you. Does the doctor take the time to sit at eye level with you? Does he look at you while you are speaking or just proceed to read your chart? Do you have the doctor’s full attention? A doctor who is not making eye contact or is absorbed in other tasks while talking or listening to you is potentially missing very important clues in the diagnostic process.
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6. Did the doctor prepare before entering the exam room?
Was it obvious that the doctor had reviewed your chart, as well as any lab or test results? Was it apparent that he had looked over your file before entering the room?
7. Does the doctor let you speak without unnecessary interruption?
Most patients are interrupted every 18 seconds. Keep in mind, however, that if you monopolize the conversation, the doctor may need to interrupt you to keep you on track. To avoid unnecessary interruptions, prepare a script of exactly what you want to relay to the doctor.