Is Your Doctor Good Enough for You?

Is Your Doctor Good Enough for You?

You know the old saying, "Physician, heal thyself." It's true. According to a recent study, how well your doctor takes care of his or her own health is important to your healthcare. When it comes to finding a good doctor, look for one who's in decent physical shape—especially if you want to lose weight.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health polled 500 primary-care physicians and found that doctors with a normal body mass index were more likely than chubby doctors to diagnose overweight patients as obese and much likelier to advise them on diet and exercise. Normal-weight docs also reported greater success when it came to helping patients lose weight.

Still, a healthy weight is just one hallmark of a good doctor. Here are some tips to gauge whether your physician is right for you, or if it's time to find a new one.

  • Use social media. Employers check out prospective employees on social media all the time. You can do the same for your doctor. Look him or her up on Facebook, Google+, Twitter and Pinterest. Check for healthy activities and an interest in health topics. Does he or she tweet about the latest health headlines, or post healthy recipes on Pinterest?
  • Interview the front-office staff. They can tell you a lot about the doctor—everything from where he or she did residency and currently has hospital privileges to how long he or she has been board-certified (should be at least 3 years). Only choose someone board-certified with admitting privileges at a major medical center, say Mehmet C Oz., MD, and Michael F. Roizen, MD.
  • Check credentials. Your doctor should be listed in a least a couple of physician databases, such as the American Medical Association's DoctorFinder or the American Board of Medical Specialties.
  • Does the doctor treat other patients like you? Ask the office manager what types of patients the doctor typically sees. Listen for descriptions of people who are your age and/or have similar health concerns.

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  • How's the doctor's bedside manner? Does he or she take time to listen to you? Do you feel relaxed, not rushed? Are your questions answered in terms you can understand?
  • Does the doctor ask you the right questions? If the doc doesn't ask about alcohol, tobacco, physical activity, diet or stress, consider that a red flag, say Dr. Oz and Dr. Mike. If the doctor does ask about these, you know he or she advocates a healthy lifestyle.

Medically reviewed in January 2020.

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