top of page
  • Scripps Health

5 Questions to Ask When Looking for a New Doctor

It’s open enrollment time - get answers before choosing a primary care physician

Trust, confidence and effective two-way communication are keys to a successful doctor-patient relationship.

When it comes time to select a new primary care doctor, the five questions below can provide important information about his or her knowledge, experience, communication style and more, and help you determine if the doctor is a good fit for you and your family.

1. What are the doctor’s medical qualifications and experience?

The minimum requirements for a physician are medical school, an internship and residency in an area of specialization, such as primary care. Some physicians go on to complete a fellowship, which is another period of specialized medical training or research.

“In addition to education, a physician’s certifications, professional experience and areas of interest can provide valuable insight into his or her expertise,” says Marie Lee, MD, a family medicine physician at Scripps Medical Center Jefferson in Oceanside. “If you have a specific interest, such as women’s health, consider finding a physician who shares that interest.”

You may find it helpful to ask about the following:

Board certification

Board certification indicates that a physician has gone beyond basic licensing and met national standards for education, knowledge, experience and skills in a specific medical specialty. Studies have shown that board-certified physicians provide higher quality care and have better patient care outcomes.

Teaching or lecturing at universities or medical schools