7 Questions to Find the Right Doctor

Although we often don’t think about it, finding a good physician is a lot like shopping.  Sometimes you need to go to several stores before you find the right fit.  Below are seven questions to ask yourself when choosing your family doctor in Israel:

  1. Accessibility – You may have met an extremely nice doctor on the plane over here but if she only sees patients once a week in Eilat, she might not be the best choice.
  2. Does the doctor speak your language? Not just your native tongue (which is a bonus) but does he also understand your cultural and religious contexts.
  3. Does the doctor dismiss your concerns?  If he advises you to take a shot of whiskey for the lower back pain you’re experiencing (true story) then you may want to “shop” for another doctor.
  4. Can you, your spouse and your children be seen by her? Some GP’s are only allowed to see those over 18.  Make sure you check before you make an appointment. It’s much easier to bring your baby in for the sore throat, your ten year old for the eye infection and you for that funny looking rash than for making separate appointments. Just remember to make three appointments at the same time. No doctor (or waiting patient) likes to be surprised by seeing three for the time of one (ten minutes).
  5. Do you have existing medical conditions that require expertise? If you have diabetes or a heart condition, it may behoove you to make a specialist your primary care physician, meaning you see them more than the GP for medications and referrals.
  6. Is the branch have a full time medical secretary (מזכירה רפואית) ? More than your physician, the medical secretary will be your most important asset in the kupah. She will either help you get the information you need (referrals, obligations for payment (התחייבות) or she can give you a blank look. Make sure there is someone available, with you can have a conversation, at least several times a week.
  7. Will you feel comfortable discussing your medical problems with this person? He may be a very nice man, but if the doctor is your husband’s learning partner, you may want to choose a different option.



10 thoughts on “7 Questions to Find the Right Doctor”

  1. Thanks for sharing some tips for choosing a family doctor. You make a good point about how they should be accessible. I would want my doctor to be close to me in case of any serious issues. I also like the idea of making sure my kids would be able to be treated as well. Hopefully, I can start looking for good doctors in the area who will be able to treat me and my kids.

  2. Thank you for the great suggestions. My mother has been looking for a doctor to help her stay healthy and was curious as to what she should look for in a doctor. You wrote that you should make sure the doctor is easily accessible, and if necessary, is willing to work you into their schedule multiple times per week. My mother is aging, and with age comes more health complications, so accessibility is key.

  3. I like what you said about finding a doctor that understands your background and beliefs so that they will understand the history of your problems. This is also a benefit because it always helps to be comfortable with your doctor. If you are comfortable with them, you will be more likely to ask questions. I have asthma, and I need to find a doctor who takes the time to learn about my background with it before prescribing anything.

  4. I agree that it is important to find someone who not only is capable and qualified, but can take you in within a reasonable amount of time. You never know when you may need to make a quick visit. It is also important to find people that you can develop a relationship with to make it easier to come back in the future.

  5. That’s a good tip to take location into account. You’re going to need quick access to care at some point. I’ll have to check with my new neighbors and see what doctors are in the area.

  6. My family and I just moved to a new area. We are looking to find a doctor that we will all feel comfortable with to take care of our general health care needs. Thanks for sharing these questions to help find the right family doctor. I hadn’t thought of making sure that they are able to tend to all ages, but that would be important for our family.

  7. Any doctor you choose as a primary care physician should take any concerns you have seriously. As the article points out, you do not want a doctor that just waves off your concerns. Instead, the doctor should sit down and go over your concerns to see where the problem lies.

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