GMA: How To Find the Right Doctor for You & Questions to Ask Your Doctor

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Good Morning America: Robin Roberts

Robin Roberts knows as much as anyone that choosing the right doctor is very important. The Good Morning America host was recently diagnosed with Myelodysplastic syndrome, and wants viewers to find their perfect doctor fit. See what advice she had about how to find the right doctor.

Good Morning America: Unexpected Illness

GMA: How To Find the Right Doctor For You

Robin Roberts and others explored how to find the right doctor, and questions to ask in your search.

52-year-old Julie Wolfe thought she picked up a bug on vacation.

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“Three hours before I landed I started feeling really sick and getting achey and I thought I was coming down with the flu,” Wolfe said.

It didn’t get any better, and soon Wolfe learned she had Leukemia.

“Leukemia or cancer was the furthest thing from my mind,” Wolfe said. “You’re just kind of thrown in there and hope it all works out.”

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GMA: Patient Navigators Help Cancer Patients

ABC News’ Dr. Richard Besser was there when Wolfe met her patient navigator.

“It could be something as simple as just sitting with someone and listening to them for a few minutes, or it could be helping them coordinate appointments.” David Trejo of the City of Hope Biller Resource Center said.

This is a service the City of Hope Hospital in Duarte, Calif. offers all of its new cancer patients.

“Knowing that I have others talking care of me is the biggest blessing,” Wolfe said.

GMA: Internet Medical Information Pros & Cons

There are nearly 12 million people diagnosed with cancer every year. All of these people are looking for support. Eighty percent of people look online for information, but information online can be unreliable and isn’t necessarily tailored someone’s person situation.

However, the Internet can lead patients to better doctors.

DoctorsElite.com Review: The Right Doctor For You

Gulfport, Mississippi, doctor Cyril Bethala remembers how many patients needing specialists came in after Hurricane Katrina.

“We never wanted to have this ever again where patients could not find the doctors,” Bethala said.

Bethala created DoctorsElite.com, a website that helps patients find the best doctors around the country.

“We want to empower these patients to reach doctors across the country,” Bethala said.

Dr. Richard Besser Vs Dr. Jennifer Ashton: How To Find the Right Doctor

Roberts sat down with Dr. Richard Besser and Dr. Jennifer Ashton to talk about navigating the doctor maze. Besser spoke of his experiences with Roberts.

“One of the things that helped our relationship is that we knew each other really well before you were sick, and I think that’s really important for everybody,” Besser said. “You want to find a doctor who you know, who you’re comfortable with when you’re healthy–a GP internist, so that if you get sick, if something goes wrong, you can turn to them and they know you and they can help steer you through this incredible maze to find doctors.”

GMA: How To Find Your Perfect Doctor

Robin asked Besser how you find that one doctor who is meant for you.

“Well that’s hard, and it can take some work,” Besser said. “First you want to look at your health plan and see who’s covered. Then you want to get person referral, so talk to friends, family, and then you may have to kiss a few frogs before you find one that works. When I moved up here the first doctor I went to, referred to me by a friend who’s a doctor, we did not click. The second doctor I went to – I think she’s wonderful, and it’s a perfect fit.”

Good Morning America: Perfect Doctor

Robin said Dr. Ashton told her to ask your doctor who their doctor is.

“Even though Rich just gave an example where it didn’t work so well, I always think ask your doctor who he or she goes to,” Ashton said. “Try to find the doctor’s doctor because we have a little bit of insider information, we know kind of the inside scoop on what makes a good doctor. So ask your doctor, ‘Who do you go to?’ ‘Who do you take your kids to?’”

Don’t Be Afraid to Leave Your Doctor

Robin said you shouldn’t be worried about hurting a doctor’s feelings if it’s not working out.

“It’s your doctor, you can fire your doctor,” Besser said. “As a pediatrician, there are parents who will set up appointments just to interview me, to get my style and find out how I work. That’s fine–internists, family doctors are much less likely to do that so you may have to go through a few.”

Finding the Right Doctor: Ask for Results

Robin said that as patients, we have the power, and we need to ask questions and ask for our test results.

“These belong to you,” Ashton said. “Sometimes it doesn’t seem that way but don’t accept ‘normal’ as an answer. If a doctor calls you or says to you your tests were normal, say, ‘Thank you, that’s wonderful, can you please go through it in a little more detail? I would like a hard copy of the results.’ Keep that at home – it’s your medical history.”

Five Questions to Ask Your Doctor

Ashton said there are five questions that will put you in a much better and more powerful position.

“In medical school and training doctors go through a way of thinking that actually patients can learn to think like a doctor,” she said. Here are the five questions she mentioned.

  • ‘What is the risk of the procedure?’
  • ‘What is the risk of not doing the procedure?’
  • ‘What’s the benefit of the procedure?’
  • ‘What’s the benefit of not doing the procedure?’
  • ‘What are my options?’

Finding A Doctor With No Health Insurance

Robin talked about viewers sitting at home without health insurance, and asked what they should do.

“There are 50 million Americans who don’t have insurance, eight out of 10 of them are working, they just don’t have a job with insurance,” Besser said. “There’s a few things to do. There’s Medicaid who provides support for people who don’t make enough money for health care but each state is different in that regard and many states don’t cover a lot of conditions. There are certain federal programs–if you have breast cancer there are programs that will provide support. So you have to look. The bottom line though is if you don’t have health insurance you want to try not to get sick.”

Ashton added that you should talk to your doctor, and to not assume that because you don’t have coverage you can’t be seen.

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