Ask Friends and Colleagues
When you're selecting a physician, ask around. Your friends and colleagues, for example, may have advice to offer. Remember that unless they are medically knowledgeable, your friends are probably speaking more to the physician's demeanor than anything else. But these people can at least alert you to such things as whether the doctor is someone who listens and spends time with patients or is brusque and inattentive. Friends and colleagues might also help to identify obvious red flags, like a drug or alcohol problem.
Ask A Nurse
Nurses can be an incredibly valuable resource, particularly if they work at a local hospital rather than a physician's office. You should make it clear that you can offer them confidentiality. They may be willing to share with you the inside story on the community's physicians.
Check On Line Resources
There are some sites that specialize in compiling information on physicians, such as Healthgrades.com and Ratemds.com. Consider whether the information is provided anonymously and be alert to the possibility that internet forums can be magnets for the chronically malcontent.
Check for Board Certification
Board Certification involves testing and peer review and is one way of determining whether the physician met standards more particularized to their area of specialty than the minimum licensing standards.
Trust Your Own Judgment
The selection of a physician isn't a lifelong commitment. As you interact with this professional, keep reevaluating your doctor to make sure she is meeting your expectations. If you think your doctor is inattentive, unprepared, inaccessible or non-responsive, you're probably right. Keep your expectations reasonable but don't hesitate to move on if you are dissatisfied.