Ten Tips for Choosing a Gynecologist:
- Identify your needs first.
- Identify any limitations
or lists from your insurance carrier. Some plans allow women to identify
their own gyn in addition to a primary care provider (PCP); in some plans,
your PCP must refer you to a gyn only when they think it's indicated.
- Consult your other physicians-especially
women. Nurses and women physicians are wonderful resources. Not only can
they evaluate their doctors professionally, but they have personal experience
as well. Pediatricians are also a great resource since they often work very
closely with OB's. Ask them who they (or their female family members) go
to, and why.
- Consult your friends and
family network. Ask who they have used and who they have appreciated
- Request information from
your county medical society. Most county medical societies will give
you names of physicians in your area that are in the specialty you select.
This does not confer any kind of endorsement, however.
- Select a gynecologist who
is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology. "Board-certified" means
the OB-Gyn has full credentials. That means that they have completed an accredited
four-year residency training program, done a certain number of surgical procedures
on their own after residency, and passed the accrediting obstetrics and gynecology
board exams. If a gyn is "board-eligible" as opposed to board-certified,
that doesn't mean they're not good gyn's, it just means that this doctor is
qualified to take the Board exam, but either hasn't taken it yet or
hasn't passed it yet. If this concerns you, ask why.
- Call the doctor's office.
Paying attention to the way the office staff speaks to you can tell you a
lot about the overall practice style. If you get a busy signal repeatedly,
that may suggest that you may have trouble getting through when you need to.
Ask the receptionist if the gynecologist usually runs on time or if patients
often wait for extended periods in the waiting room (uncontrollable laughter
as a response is not a good sign!).
- Ask to schedule an appointment.
If you are offered an appointment several weeks away, this doctor may simply
be too busy with practice or other obligations, or has limited office hours;
the flip side of this is that this doctor may just be very popular or may
reserve separate appointments for routine/annual exams and others for acute,
problem oriented visits.
- Request an informational
interview or "getting to know you" visit. The most important predictor
of whether this is the best physician for you is whether you feel comfortable
with this person as a potentially trusted professional.
- Do your homework, but trust your gut feelings. Get as much information
as you can about the Ob-Gyn as a doctor, and as a person- and about his or
her practice. But whether or not you will be happy and comfortable with this
relationship depends upon the same factors as most other important relationships
in your lives- your gut instincts.
Click here for related information.
Created: 10/17/2000  - Donnica Moore, M.D.
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