Choosing an OB/GYN Provider
For gynecological care, women can either choose a family doctor, certified nurse-midwife or a gynecologist. Whatever you decide, your care provider plays a central role in your health and well-being, which is why it is vital to do some research before making an appointment.
Here are some tips on finding the right match for you:
- Evaluate your needs — Do you prefer a male or female provider? Do you prefer a primary-care provider or a specialist? Does your provider's age matter to you? Does office location make a difference in your choice? Do you need early or late appointments?
- Get referrals from other health-care providers, family members and friends. Chances are, the same names will surface over and over again if they have a good reputation in your community.
- Clarify professional certification — See if your physician is board-certified by calling the American Board of Medical Specialties at 1-800-776-2378 or visit www.certifieddoctor.org. A doctor who is board-certified has passed the accreditation test to practice medicine in his or her specialty. A certified nurse-midwife must be a registered nurse with a master's degree and has passed the national certification exam in midwifery administered by the American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM).
- Talk to the front-office staff — and take note of how you are treated. Are they courteous and helpful to you? Are you put on hold for long periods of time? How long is it for the first available appointment? Does the office accept your insurance plan?
You should also pay attention to the care provider's communication style. Does the practitioner listen to you? Does he or she explain things in understandable terms? Did the visit feel rushed? Finally, ask yourself if you like the provider. This is one of the most important ingredients in the provider/patient relationship.