Rating a physician comes down to one simple question: What would you have liked to know when you were choosing them? When your health is on the line, what qualities in a doctor are most important to you? Most people would say, “getting better” or “staying healthy.” However, when choosing a physician, many factors make up “getting better,” which allow for a successful long-term relationship. When you have a good relationship with your doctor, it improves your overall healthcare and makes appointments as comfortable as possible.
A healthy relationship and excellent overall healthcare are the most important aspects of rating a physician. But, when writing a review for your doctor, it is essential to consider several key points.
What to Consider When Writing a Physician Review
- Accessibility. Are you able to contact your physician in a reasonable amount of time? Do your phone calls or emails reach them and does someone call you back with an answer? It may be unrealistic to expect a same-day response from your busy physician, but a timely call back from a nurse or administrator is highly appreciated.
- The quality of the doctor’s office staff. How is the reception? Are they helpful with setting appointments and relaying messages? Are the nurses accommodating and informative? Details like these may not be critical in the grand scheme of your overall health care, but they do make for a more streamlined and enjoyable healthcare experience.
- Comfort and communication. Being comfortable with a physician is crucial in maintaining a relationship that is optimal for your healthcare. The ability to communicate openly and trust your doctor, knowing that he or she is doing everything possible to provide the best healthcare for you is the crux of a working relationship.
- Your involvement in the decision-making process. Your physician’s job is to ask the right questions, perform the correct examination, obtain an accurate diagnosis and give you the available options for treating your illness. An experienced and talented physician will detail all of your treatment options, including the risks, benefits, and chances of success, and explain them in terms you can understand. From there, they may give a recommendation, but the decision should be left up to you.
- Your physician teaches you how to treat your conditions. It is one thing to recommend a particular drug, diet, or exercise regimen, but did your doctor tell you when to take your medication, how many times a day, with food or without? Was the diet outlined extensively or was a dietician involved? Often a pharmacist or dietician may cover these details, but being taught how to treat your illness in some fashion is essential in obtaining peak health.
- Realistic expectations for your doctor. While it is impossible to know exactly what to expect from any treatment plan, your physician should do his or her best to outline realistic expectations. Some examples are timelines for when a medication or treatment regimen should begin to work, as well as potential side effects and complications of different medications and how to handle them. What is the best-case scenario (cure or just improvement) and what is the worst-case scenario (failure of treatment, worsening of the condition, or death)?
- Overall health care. It is more of a general feeling, but it is the most important aspect of rating a physician. When speaking with your doctor, do you feel that they are listening and engaged in the conversation? Are you given all the options, are they fully explained, and are you involved with every decision? Do you feel your doctor is there with you every step of the way? When you leave, do you have a defined treatment plan that you are confident that you can complete? If these questions are all yes, then you likely have a phenomenal physician.
What to Avoid Focusing on When Reviewing Your Doctor
- If your doctor is on time. Timeliness is important, but physician’s schedules can be extremely unpredictable. It would be ideal to show up for a noon appointment and be speaking with your doctor at 12:05. However, medical professionals are extremely busy and often have unforeseen emergencies that interfere with their schedule. In other cases, your physician may have needed to spend some extra time with the patient before you to discuss an unexpected treatment change. Always remember that while it is unfortunate to have to wait, you would be very appreciative if it were you who needed the extra time. Exceptional tardiness is a problem, but in the unpredictable world of medicine, it is nearly impossible to find a physician who is always on time.
- If you get better or not. Because of the nature of diseases, a physician cannot be judged solely by whether or not your health was improved. While the goal of seeing a doctor is obviously to obtain optimum health, for many uncontrollable reasons, this may not be possible. Unfortunately, many diseases are chronic and incurable, such as autoimmune diseases, while others have characteristically poor prognoses, such as many cancers. Not all medications work for everyone and drug response varies. Other limiting factors are your current state of health and potential for improvement. Realistic expectations are essential and are something your physician should outline for you early on.
When writing a doctor review, it is essential to be as honest and unbiased as possible. It is also critical to rate all physician experiences, including the good, the bad, and anything in between. The people reading your reviews are searching for a new doctor and need to learn everything they can to help them make a decision. To best inform people about your experience with a doctor, you must speak openly and honestly not only about the GP who provided exceptional treatment, but also about the one who offered no options, was rude, or lacked professionalism.