Since your doctor is your family’s main source of ongoing healthcare, your honesty is of utmost importance. This guide addresses 6 questions to ask your new doctor.
Finding a Family Doctor
Families in Ontario looking for a family doctor should consider registering for Health Care Connect, a program that helps connect those without doctors to a health care provider accepting patients. To register, you must have a valid health card, and be sure that you’re not already enrolled with a family doctor.
You can register online or by calling 1-800-445-1822. You’ll need a pen, paper and your OHIP card when you call. Once you’ve been connected with a doctor accepting patients in your area, you will be responsible for calling and booking an appointment.
Ontario has one of the best health care systems in the world. Your doctor will help you make the most of it.
Preparing for Your First-Appointment
Bring a list of your (and any family members who join you), current medications, their doses, and be ready to describe any other diagnoses you have received in the past. Be able to list any allergies, and the dates of hospital admissions and past operations available.
Questions to Ask the Doctor
After your doctor has gotten to know a little bit about you, ask him or her these questions:
1. Who will be seeing me if I have an emergency?
It’s important to get a sense of whether or not you’ll be able to get in immediately if you have an emergency. Also, if you can’t see your specific doctor for an emergency visit, (and if your doctor is very busy this may be the case), you’ll want to know beforehand so you know what to expect.
2. Do you have any expertise in ______?
If you (or someone in your family who will be seeing the doctor) deals with an ongoing physical or mental health issue, you’ll likely feel more comfortable with a physician who had experience addressing your situation. Ask your physician how many patients he or she has treated with your condition.
3. Do you belong to any associations?
It could be beneficial to see a physician who is affiliated with a specific association. They may be able to refer to you other resources in your community from specialized clinics to support groups.
4. How many patients do you see per month?
A doctor who is very busy sees up to 500 patients per month, and a doctor who is very slow may see only 50. Knowing this information will help you gauge how difficult it may be to get an appointment, and will also indicate how in touch with this information your doctor is.
5. What medical records do you need to assess my treatment needs?
Your doctor should be able to tell you what they need from you in order to treat you best. This may include recent recommendations from consultations with specialists, X-rays, etc.
6. Will you be overseeing my entire treatment – from presurgery testing to post surgery checkups?
If you know beforehand that you require more extensive procedures, such as a surgery, you’ll want to be sure your doctor is well-equipped for each task involved.
After your Appointment
Ask yourself and any family members who were present these questions:
- Did your children respond well to the doctor?
- Is the waiting room pleasant / kid-friendly?
- Does the doctor welcome questions?
- Could I understand what he / she was saying?
- Can I see myself asking this doctor anything?
Through your doctor, you have access to a wide range of medical and emergency services that are covered by your Ontario health card. Certain services though, (like prescription drugs, dental care, and more), are not covered.
A healthcare insurance policy can cover your various needs and also help protect your family against the financial consequences of accidents and illness. Find out which Healthcare coverage best suits your needs.