Let’s say you don’t have a primary care physician, or don’t like the one you do have and want to switch, but can’t get a personal recommendation from a friend or relative. If you have health insurance and find yourself looking for a doctor on say, your insurance website’s directory of physicians, the first thing I would do is:
1. Decide whether you want to go to an M.D. or a D.O. Both are physicians who have had the same amount of training and who can prescribe medication. The difference in an M.D. and a D.O. is that a D.O. can do everything an M.D. does, but also has additional training in osteopathic manipulative medicine, a form of therapy that uses physical contact to improve the impaired or altered function of the musculo-skeletal system. They can do adjustments similar to, but not exactly the same as, chiropractors. In my experience, D.O.s tend to have a more open mind when it comes to alternative forms of therapy, such as using natural supplements, homeopathy, or Muscle Response Testing (Applied Kinesiology). If you’re going to pay a copay to a doctor, you may as well go to the one with the most training and wider knowledge. That would be the D.O. In my opinion.
2. Google that person’s name and see if they have a website and/or any google or other consumer reviews. If a doctor doesn’t have a website, this could be a bad or a good sign. On one hand, most doctors with expensive looking websites will likely be more expensive, and may not even accept insurance, but only private pay, because they can make more money that way. You have to call and confirm that they still accept your insurance. Generally, it is good to have a website for something to go by; hopefully their site gives information on what sort of services they provide and what sort of conditions they have experience and success in treating, their philosophy, etc. Not to mention, you can see what they look like if they have a pic up, and in my experience younger doctors are usually more up-to-date and open-minded when it comes to more alternative forms of treatment. Though, this is not always the case, and my current D.O. is an older man, and he’s great. He also doesn’t have a website.
3. If you can’t locate a website, call the doctor up and notice whether a kind, friendly and attentive voice answers and is willing to answer your questions, or whether a more distracted voice answers, sounds hurried, and asks if you will hold. If the latter, this may be a red flag. For one, they are clearly a super busy office and you may have a more difficult time getting in for appointments, and longer wait times once you get there. Secondly, if they aren’t friendly and willing to answer your questions, this may not be a good office to deal with. Or, the fact that they are busy, may be a sign that this is a good doctor in high demand. Still, the voice representing this office should be nice.
4. When you get the friendly voice on the phone willing to answer questions, here are the questions I would ask. Cater these to your needs, but the first few are pretty crucial. The front desk person may not have all the answers to these questions, but still ask, and hopefully they will be willing to get the answers and call you back.
A) Does Dr._____ have a website? (If you couldn’t locate one)
B) Does Dr. _____ treat systemic candida? (Will explain this in a sec)
C) Does Dr. ______ treat allergies?
D) Does Dr. ______ treat H. pylori?
E) Does Dr._______ use any natural treatments like homeopathy?
F) Does Dr._______ use Muscle Testing (Applied Kinesiology)? (a doctor who uses this can often find answers or indications when you’ve had trouble finding answers any other way)
G) Does Dr. ______ have success with treating (whatever your condition is-if you know it)?
H) Does Dr. _______ use osteopathy with most patients? (ask this, because I went to one D.O. who never even examined me osteopathically.)
The reason you want to find out if this doctor treats systemic candida or h.pylori is that if this doctor doesn’t really know much about these conditions, chances are they are missing one of these diagnosis in a lot of cases. Many people have candida issues or h.pylori or both and don’t even know it. Also, more natural and alternative doctors know more about candida than do most traditional physicians. It’s better if they’re knowledgeable, because candida can cause so many other conditions, especially if you’re suffering with any kind of gastrointestinal issue. The same goes for H.pylori.
5. Choose the doctor with a balance of both traditional medicine and natural/alternative medicine techniques.
Good Luck. If you need a recommendation for a practitioner (D.O., D.O.C., D.O.M, Neurologist, etc.) in the Austin area, let me know. I may have one.