TODAY   |  September 12, 2013

How good is your doctor? 12 ways to tell

Just as in any profession, doctors’ skill sets and experience can vary widely. But how can you tell? Dr. Roshini Raj, a contributing editor at Health magazine, shares ways to gauge how experienced and knowledgeable doctors are, from primary care physicians to dentists.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> well, ever wonder if your family is getting the best medical care ? not sure if your doctor is up to par?

>> you are left here with tips on how to tell if your health is in the best hands, a contributing medical doctor . good to see you.

>> good to see you, al.

>> let's start off with our primary care doctors. you go to the doctor. they immediately want you to change into the awkward gown.

>> that isn't always the best thing?

>> when you if to the primary care doctor once a year, it's a time to talk about everything and comfortable. you are not comfortable in that drafty gown with no underwear. i think it's best to have the conversation, talk about issues. when it's time for the physical dpam, you turn into the gown. hopefully your doctor is good with that.

>> you want to make sure your doctor is up with the testing vaccinations and stuff like that.

>> things change a lot in medicine. it will affect your health care . for example, there is a new recommendation that baby boomers , those born between 1945 and 1965 get a hepatitis c test. that can be a silent cause of liver disease . you might want to make sure your doctor is up to date.

>> 245i should be asking have you had a hepatitis b ?

>> correct.

>> you want follow through. a lot of these doctors, they manage health care , they got to move people in and out. you got to make them stop and talk to you.

>> absolutely. the days of i'll call can you if somebody is ab nomplal, if you don't hear from them, those days are over. that's not acceptable area. you into ed to heariter way the results of a blood test or x-ray. things can fall through the cracks. so always find out how am i going to find out the results? if i don't hear from you, can i call you in two weeks?

>> that leads to the next one. let go to the begin tocologist, shall we? you say you should get really personal. they should be asking you lots of questions.

>> right. so it's not just about the pelvic exam , the breast exam . they need to get into what's going on in your life, your mood? that could to be a seen of hormonal changes. have your sexual practices changed? maybe you got divorced in they need to get into that. that's going to load to how they 15 to you for certain disease an how they treat you.

>> i want to call an audeible. you talk about women. with men, we have a fair number of men who watch. what should they be checking for with their doctor?

>> well, absolutely, it's a great question. again, stds as well arc big thing for men at any age, blood pressure , cholesterol, those are things that are standardly done. they also have to worry about different cancer screenling tests. so men as well as women need to get personal, alcohol history, drugs, all of those things.

>> prostate, of course, depending on the age.

>> okay, now dentist itself, they don't just clean our teeth. they are looking for a sign of other things as well?

>> yeah, they should be. it's not all ability cavities. you want to look for oral health, oral cancer dentists pick up. other doctors aren't spending too much time looking alt your mouth. they should be looking at your on the sill itself, your lips, signs of cancer in unusual places. gum disease . we know now gum disease may be linked to other types of disease like heart disease . this is something they should be measuring for gum erosion, things like that. it's not about looking at your teeth or cleaning your teeth.

>> how oumpb should you get x rays ?

>> this is a big concern, we are learning x-rays should only be performed when absolutely necessary. it's not every time you go to the dentist, you necessarily need an x-ray the full mouth generally once every five years.

>> peetd tristians, quickly, parents want to make sure kid are getting the best care. you think there are two traits you should look far?

>> you want to lock for ra doctor asking ability your chielt another eating habits, their sleeping habits. they can affect school performance, of course, this is a time when you want to teach them good habits early on, how are they socializing? do they have friends? are they happy? anxiety and depression occur in children. safety, the first time my pediatrician asked me, do you have a gun in the house? i was taken aback. what kind of question is that? actually, these are the kind of questions they should be asking. accidents are the no. 1 safety questions for. these are the topics your pediatrician should be bringing up.

>> you are looking for a surgeon, experience counts. dr. raj,