Often Missed Qualities of Great Doctors


Two questions that patients should ask far more than they do are;

 “How often have you seen, diagnosed, and treated someone with symptoms like mine,” and, “how successful were you at diagnosing and treating the related illness or condition?”

After a review of countless articles on top and best doctors including related research studies on what qualities make a good doctor, it’s shocking how few mention the doctor’s recent experience or success at diagnosing and treating the condition or illness. Yet, doctors who diagnose and treat a specific illness or disease frequently perform better than other doctors without similar experience, and the outcomes have a greater variation among low-volume clinicians. [i]

Experience is not the only key quality that is often missing in the links presented on page one of major search engine results.

Here’s a list of four key qualities that are often missed, yet are very important if you want the best outcome possible from your doctors and clinicians ;

  1. Your clinician has recent and successful experience diagnosing and/or treating your illness or condition. The higher the volume the better, in most cases.
  2. You have access to your clinician and/or their staff and support whenever needed; 24/7.
  3. Your primary doctors or their staff coordinate your medical information and care plans with other clinicians, and your care providers. This is especially important during transitions from one care setting to another. Specially after a hospital or acute care discharge.
  4. Your clinicians and/or their staff will help you understand your financial obligations as you consider your options for tests, treatments, and care.

No doubt that research indicating that clinician confidence, empathy, humanity, personality, honesty, respect, curiosity, and thoroughness are among the key qualities of an ideal doctor are all relevant.

Although, it’s hard to believe that a doctor with all the qualities mentioned in the previous paragraph would be more ideal than a doctor without all of them who had successfully diagnosed and treated 100% of their patients, was available to answer your questions 24/7, had staff that coordinated all your healthcare needs, and made sure that you understood the financial implications of your options given your health insurance and personal circumstances.

Learn more about how to get your doctor working as your partner.

[i] Institute of Medicine. 2000. Interpreting the Volume-Outcome Relationship in the Context of Healthcare Quality: Workshop Summary. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press. https//doi.org/10.17226/1005

Expecting Perfection from Doctors is Bad Medicine


Here are simple tips to minimize the chances of mistakes in your diagnosis, treatment, and healthcare finances:

  1. Ask your doctor(s) questions about everything that you do not completely understand until you do understand.
  2. Find a primary care doctor who listens to you, you trust, and you can contact when needed.
  3. Request copies and keep your own medical records. Do not trust any insurance provider, Medicare, or health system just because they have a system that lets you access your information. Make copies, and/or make sure that your medical records are in a system that you control.
  4. Prepare for appointments with doctors by sharing your goals and questions with them at least 1 day before your appointment.
  5. Verify any abnormal medical tests with a second test. Labs make mistakes, too.
  6. When given any serious diagnosis do these two things; 1. ask if “based on my medical history and what you know about my circumstances, could my condition be something else?” and Get a second opinion.
  7. Always review your medical bills and ask for an itemized bill if anything looks suspicious. You will need an itemized bill to dispute any charges.

There is a lot of free, expert help available. Use it when you need it.