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        Putting your health in good hands:

        Choosing doctors for one's family is not an easy task, because there is no standard procedure by which doctors can be chosen.There is also no definitive list of good doctors and no sure fire way to measure what makes a good doctor..

        Starting point for every search is your health insurance plan. If your coverage is through a health maintenance organization(HMO), you can begin your search for a doctor with the list of doctors covered in the HMO plan.One option after this is to choose a hospital you would wish to go to if you were ill.Most hospitals have Physician referral services.If you prefer referrals from people you know you can take referrals from family,friends and co-workers.But while taking such referrals be sure to find out why someone is referring a particular doctor,their needs and preferances may not be the same as yours.
        Apart from the word of mouth referrals you can find more information on the doctors through internet. Here are some websites where you will get help in finding a doctor.

        • THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION--This site allows you to find a doctor by speciality and location and to research a doctor's credentials.This site also helps in choosing health plans

        • DOCTOR DIRECTORY IN USA--Helpful in finding a doctor in various speciality

        • WebMD Find a physician--search a national database of over 500,000 physicians

        • YAHOO health find a doctor--search using Zipcode and speciality and your insurance plan

        • TRUST MY DOCTOR--Check doctor's qualifications

        • Different Health plans--Provider search

        • Locate a doctor--search a national database of Over 160,000 Doctors, Dentists, and Chiropractors

        • MEDICAL SOCIETY OF NEWJERSEY--This site allows you to search a doctor by last name,speciality,hospital affiliations and you can check the credentials,whether they will accept new patients etc.This is for Newjersey

        • Doctors Infoseek--search by city,state and speciality

        • CERTIFIED DOCTOR--Check a doctor's board certifications at American board of medical specialities.

        • LICENCE SUSPENSIONS OF NEWJERSEY DOCTORS LIST--This site allows you to know which doctors have their licences suspended in NJ

        • MEDI-NET--This is a commercial service that provides disciplinary information from all state medical boards and other background information on doctors. The charge is$12.50 through website and$ 17 over phone at (888)776-2378. 
          After getting the names of a few doctors, the best way to know if you want one of them to be your doctor is to meet with them.Expect to pay for the interview- or you can link your exploratory visit with some minor illness.
          Spend sometime deciding what qualities you are looking for in a doctor..
        • Do you have a preferance for male or female doctor?
        • Do you want the conveniance of a nearby doctor or are you willing to travel for office visits

        • Do you like to chat with your doctor or would you prefer a strictly business approach?

        • If you have an ongoing health problem you might want a doctor who specializes in your condition

          When you meet with the doctor come prepared with questions and a keen eye to determine if you are comfortable with the doctors style and the support staff.
          you can ask certain question to the doctor such as..
        • Can I call you on phone with questions?

        • How long does it take usually to get an appointment?

        • How is the billing handled?Will the office submit insurance forms for me?

        • who covers for you when you are not available?

        • How does the office handle emergencies particularly on the weekend?

        • Will I have a say in choosing specialists when referrals are needed?

          After the meeting ask yourself:
          Do you feel rushed when you are asking questions?
          Is the doctor respectful of taking time to listen to Questions?
          Consider answers to the above questions before you choose a particular doctor.

          Who's who in your doctor's office.
          When you walk into the doctor's office, apart from the MD(medical doctor) or D.O(doctor of osteopathic medicine) you will come across lots of other people. Here's a glossary of who they are:

          1. Physicians Assistant(PA)-A specially trained person who is certified to provide the basic medical services such as diagnosing and treating common ailments usually under the supervision of a licensed physician.A PA has a bachelors degree and has completed a six-semester program that is comparable to the second and third years of medical school.
          2. Licenced Practical Nurse(LPN)-A nurse who has undergone training and passed a licensing exam to provide routine care for the sick
          3. Registered Nurse(RN)-A nurse who has a associate's degree or a bachelor's degree and has taken a licensing exam for the registered nurses.A RN can assist in certain medical procedures like giving injections and call in prescriptions.RN may also conduct intial examination of a patient including blood pressure and temperature readings during an office visit.
          4. Nurse Practitioner(NP)-A registered nurse with advanced training who practices under her own license, but in collaboration with a physician.Nurse practitioners specialize as doctors in areas such as paediatrics,acute care, neonatal care and oncology.
          5. Nurse Midwife-A registered nurse who specialises in the care of a mother and child during pregnancy,labor and delivery.
            courtesy The starledger.