Making a choice of a doctor is so important for the right treatment. For most Kenyans, one of the biggest healthcare challenges is how to identify a good doctor.
Ultimately you will have to decide which doctor is best suited to your individual needs and situation.
Ways to identify a good doctor
1. Determine the kind of doctor you need
You’d be surprised how many different specialists treat the same symptom — depending on its underlying cause. If the cause of the pain may not yet be evident to you, it is advisable to see a general practitioner who will then help you find out which specialist treats the issue you are facing.
2. Determine your preference
Do you want a doctor who’s affiliated with the same hospital as another doctor you see? Do you need a doctor who speaks a local language? Do you have a gender or age preference? Do you want a doctor located close to your home or office?
During the initial consultation, ask questions and assess how the doctor responds to your concerns. Did the doctor listen to you? Did he answer your questions thoroughly? Did she make you feel comfortable? Does she explain your diagnosis and treatment?
3. Research the doctor’s background
Find out whether the doctor is well trained and authorized to practice medicine. Doctors and dentists aspiring to practice in Kenya must comply with the statutory requirements for registration and licensing.
Look for board certification. Being certified through the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board means a doctor has earned a medical degree from a qualified medical school and successfully completed their internship.
Watch out for red flags which may include malpractice claims and disciplinary actions. Even good doctors can get sued once or twice, but you certainly don’t want someone who has had a lot of malpractice claims.
4. Visit their offices
If need be visit their offices especially if you got the doctor’s contacts on the internet to verify if the doctor and the practice actually exists.
Score the doctor and the office staff on courtesy, helpfulness and how long patients are kept in the waiting room. It is also important to note how clean and hygienic the doctor’s office appears.
5. Ask for recommendations
When most of us need a specialist doctor, we’ll either take a referral from our doctor, ask friends, relatives or our social networks for recommendations.
The opinions of people who have been treated by that particular doctor in the past can be a good starting point for your assessment. The patient’s family members can apprise you about their experiences.
If you have any reservations, see another doctor.
Find out how much the doctor charges for consultation and other services. In case you have NHIF or a private medical insurance cover, check whether the medical facility is covered under the scheme. This will help determine what is covered or excluded and if there is any co-payment.
It’s important to understand the full picture of your medical costs, like extra charges you may incur in case of an emergency or complication etc.
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