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Checklist: My Ideal Provider

, by San Francisco AIDS Foundation

Whether you are starting from scratch or thinking of switching providers, it’s a good idea to consider all the factors that might make a difference to you, and then look for someone who meets those criteria.

You can use this list to help clarify what is important to you. Where and what kind of practice will feel safest and most convenient, and what kind of personality, background, and training will be the best match for what you want and need in your clinician?

1. Office location: where do you want your doctor/provider to be?

__ Near my neighborhood, easy to get to

__ Not in my neighborhood

2. What sort of setting would be best for you?

Depending on your insurance, you may have different choices about where you can get your care.

__ A mixed general practice clinic (not just HIV); may be more anonymous

__ An HIV clinic, with more specialized services (social workers, health educators,

etc.)

__ A private practice office; fewer staff and other patients around

3. What provider type would be best for you: doctor or nurse practitioner/physician assistant (NP/PA)?

__ Doctor: more training to deal with disease treatment; often busier

__ NP/PA: more training in health and wellness; often has more time to talk

4. What type of approach are you looking for?

__ Scientist: “just the facts”

__ Warm and fuzzy: offers friendly support

__ More conservative: waits to start people on new treatments until they are really well proven

__ More aggressive: uses new treatments early if there is evidence that they work

__ Holistic: knows about or uses complementary treatments, such as herbs

5. What kind of relationship do you want to have with your provider?

__ The provider is in control: I take his/her advice

__ A team effort: we decide things together

__ I make all of the decisions

6. Similar to you, or different?

__ Gender matters to me; I want a (male, female, transgender) provider

__ Race/ethnicity matters to me, I want a _______ provider

7. Special issues

__ I need a provider who is comfortable prescribing pain medicines

__ I need a provider who knows about substance use issues

__ I need a provider who knows about mental health issues

__ I need a provider who speaks _______, my preferred language

__ Other: ______________

Excerpted from “Making the Most of Your Medical Visits,” BETA, Winter/Spring 2009. (Download a PDF here.)

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