How to Choose the Best Asthma Doctor

Do You Need Help Choosing a Doctor

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We all have our own ideas about what characteristics are important when choosing a doctor. Some people most value experience, bedside manner, education and others may be more concerned with communication skills, subspecialty training, access, availability or even convenient office hours. In the end we all want the best doctor that we can also develop a good relationship with. You might consider the 5Fs next time you are choosing an asthma doctor:

  • Familiar
  • Fit
  • Fast
  • Flexible
  • Forward thinking


Different doctors will have different levels of experience or interest in taking care of asthma. While allergists and pulmonologists certainly all have experience in treating asthma as part of their required training, they may not all have interest. Some primary care physicians that care for asthma (e.g. pediatrician or family practitioner) may have a real interest, but less clinical experience with asthma.


If your doctor does not communicate well or you and your doctor cannot seem to get on the same page, your asthma control may not improve despite your doctor being knowledgeable. Whether a primary care doctor or an asthma specialist, good communication is essential. With good communication your problems will be address more accurately and completely; you will be more satisfied; and you will be more likely and better able to follow recommendations and treatments.

Additionally, you may want to see how well you fit into a doctor’s practice. Is the office willing to communicate with you via email and are virtual visits available if you have a question that might not necessitate an office visit? Additionally, you probably need to look at your doctor’s practice partners.

If your doctor is the only doctor in the practice that you like, what will happen when you call in or need to be seen in the emergency department?


While you do not want your asthma doctor to be through visits and not address your problems and concerns, you do want your doctor’s office to be efficient. Does visiting your asthma doctor require you to take a day off work or can you be reasonably assured that most of the time you will be able to get in and out in a reasonable time frame?


You want a doctor that is knowledgeable and experienced, but also willing to tailor their care to your needs. For example, some over-controlling parents have a really hard time relinquishing control as their adolescents get older. The emerging adolescent has a number of risks and potential bad behaviors that can worsen asthma. The asthma doctor in many instances becomes an arbiter between child and parent.

Forward Thinking

You want an asthma doctor that not only stays up to date with the latest in asthma science and treatment, but also willing to consider ideas that may not have been part of their training.

In terms of staying up to date, you want to make sure that your doctor knows about new treatments that you might benefit from like bronchial thermoplasty. On the other hand, complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is a collection of practices that your doctor may have zero experience with. Not only do you want to know that your doctor can evaluate these practices in relation to your care, but you want to know that your doctor is willing to consider your preferences to things like taking Ginko as a supplement or trying to lessen medication use by preforming breathing exercises.

Picking an asthma doctor can be hard and confusing. Hopefully the 5Fs will hope you make a little more sense in choosing an asthma doctor.

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