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Talking with Your Doctor

17 Questions to Ask When Choosing a New Doctor

There are many reasons why you might be looking for a new doctor. Maybe you've moved to another city, or perhaps your doctor is retiring. If you need a new doctor, these questions should help you find one who is right for you. Pick the questions that fit your situation the best.

BasicsDoctor holding a stethoscope

  1. Is the doctor taking new patients?
  2. Is the doctor a preferred provider under my insurance plan?
  3. Does the doctor accept Medicare?

Determining a Doctor's Qualifications and Background

  1. Is the doctor board certified? In what field?
  2. Is the age, sex, race, or religion of the doctor important to me?
  3. Will language be an obstacle to communication? Is there someone in the office who speaks my language?
  4. Do I prefer a group practice or an individual doctor?
  5. Does it matter which hospital the doctor admits patients to?

Location of the Doctor's Office

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  1. Is the location of the doctor’s office important? How far am I willing to travel to see the doctor?
  2. Is there parking? What does it cost? Is the office on a bus or subway line?
  3. Does the building have an elevator? What about ramps for a wheelchair or walker?

Know the Doctor's Office Policies

  1. What days/hours does the doctor see patients?
  2. Are there times set aside for the doctor to take phone calls? Does the doctor accept emailed questions? Is there a charge for this service?
  3. Does the doctor ever make house calls?
  4. How far in advance do I have to make appointments?
  5. What’s the process for urgent care? How do I reach the doctor in an emergency?
  6. Who takes care of patients after hours or when the doctor is away?

This content is provided by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health. NIA scientists and other experts review this content to ensure that it is accurate, authoritative, and up to date.