Who's the "Best Doctor?"

Who's the "Best Doctor?"

Who is the best doctor?  Well, there can’t be only one or the rest of us would out of business.  My definition of the “best” doctor is someone you can believe and trust.  Simple.  Nothing more.

How do we find the best doctor?  We usually choose a doctor after reviewing our trusted sources of information; friends, magazines and the like.  Really kind of a shot in the dark.  Though we trust our friends, we really don’t know how much our friends know.  Similarly, we really don’t know how doctors became included in the most recent “best of” edition of a local magazine.  But we have to start somewhere.

Our Doctor’s Must Know – Many times we rely on the opinion of health care provider, be it a nurse, physician’s assistant, doctor, etc., to refer us to someone of solid reputation.  Again, we don’t really know.  We assume that the referring provider has excellent knowledge of all the attributes that make a “best” doctor.  

What attributes make the “best” doctor?  Is it intelligence, place of work, place of graduation, clinical smarts, dexterity in the operating room, plays golf well, belongs to the right church, etc.?  I just don’t know.  I once created a web-site that bragged that we DIDN’T operate on Tiger Woods. 

There is no win/loss record – Based on all the possibilities listed above, there will always be a “better” doctor.  I’m sure that you run across well meaning friends and family who are all too eager to share their opinions about the “best.”  Uh, based on what?  There are no statistics such as earned run average (baseball pitchers) or save-percentage (goalies) for doctors.  

My point is that it is impossible to know.  Whatever parameters and attributes are important to us, it is up to us to make the final decision.  We have to be comfortable with the person we choose and entrust with our health care.

My recommendation has always been that the “best” doctor is that doctor that you can understand, beleive and trust.  The “best” is someone that you find reassuring and easy to communicate with.    God forbid if something untoward were to happen, you need to know that the “best” doctor took his time and did everything he could to do the very best for you.


Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Ophthalmologist/ Retina Specialist

  • Elena
    Posted at 12:44h, 11 October Reply

    Great post, Dr. Wong, thank you.
    Personally I trust my eye doctor is doing the best he can but I do not enjoy his manner of communication very nuch. He almost seems like no patient will understand what he’s saying if he tried to explain. He has a talent in explaining difficult notions in a clear spot-on way when(ever) he decides to actually communicate what he has in mind. But I find that most of the times he isn’t communicating what he has in mind until I am ready to explore with questions! 😀 Many times he responds elliptically to questions, which isn’t what most patients want. I understand that some people do not wish to know much, but I happen to be in the group of those who want to know as much detail as possible. I had to read a lot of information on my own because my doctor refused to explain himself fully. I think that’s not nice and so I think the doc’s communication “style” is paramount in being trusted by his patients.
    Of course -to some degree- it might also be a “chemistry” thing (since not all patients want to know everything about their disease).

    • Randall V. Wong, M.D.
      Posted at 15:25h, 15 October Reply

      Dear Elena,

      Communication, whether between your doctor and yourself or here, is important to everyone involved. My opinion is that a doctor who can’t communicate effectively is not as effective a doctor. Part of doctoring is educating and communicating.

      Anyway, thank you!


  • Pingback:Loss of Vision in a Patient with Long Term Diabetes
    Posted at 06:36h, 13 October Reply

    […] a doctor who you trust.  That’s the definition of the “best doctor.”  It becomes crucial for patients suffering from long-term, or chronic, diseases such as diabetes […]

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