Why is it Important?
When choosing a doctor, it is important to be confident that you will receive the best possible care. You want to be sure that the doctor you choose is right for the job; your doctor must have the qualifications, the experience, and the skill to meet your needs.
When looking for the right doctor for you, here are some important things to consider:
- Will the doctor provide effective treatment? Will the doctor consider various treatment options and share the decision-making process with you?
- What sort of patient-doctor relationship will your doctor foster? Will your doctor provide consistent and accurate communication while striving to address your particular needs and concerns? Will your doctor care for you as a person, not only you as a patient?
- Is the doctor geographically accessible?
- Is the care affordable? Does the doctor work with your insurance?
- Is your doctor professionally competent? Does the doctor stay up-to-date on the latest medical advances?
- Does your doctor have the credentials and track record to make you confident in the care you will receive?
Where to Look.
There is an overwhelming amount of information on the Internet, and not all of it is trustworthy. While it would be ideal if all information about your doctor were easily accessible, this is not always the case. When determining if a website provides true and accurate information, it is very important to think about where the information is coming from and who is funding the website.
For information regarding doctors, here are some different types of websites you might come across:
- Private Company Sites: some private sites are free to patients looking for information, while others will charge you. If the website provides free information, it’s possible that they are charging doctors or facilities to be featured on the website.
- Insurance Company Sites: these are websites created by health insurance providers to inform their customers who are choosing a doctor./li>
- Government Sites: these are on a state-by-state basis. Government websites provide information about doctors within their respective states.
- Doctor Licensing and Information:
What to Know.
In addition to researching answers to questions regarding affordability and location, here are other useful pieces of information to research.
Doctor Ratings: This information is of course subjective, and therefore should not be the sole basis of choosing a doctor. Things to consider when looking at rating websites include: how is the rating determined? How up-to-date is the website? Who is funding the website? Is patient review included? How many patients have reviewed this doctor? There are a variety of factors that influence such rating websites; the more information you can gather about them, the better.
Credentials and Malpractice Suits: This information is factual, and therefore very reliable. This information, however, is not always easy to find. It is vital to be sure that your doctor is licensed (see website above), and for you as a patient to be aware of any past problems or suits a doctor may have had. Start by looking for licensing: if a doctor’s licensed is suspended, you need go no further. If the state website is clear, simply conduct a web search by entering the doctor’s name and malpractice: e.g., “John Doe” malpractice. Be sure that the information is about the doctor you’re interested in, not just another doctor with the same name.
You may not be able to glean all the information you want about a doctor online, but it is important to know your doctor’s history. The more informed you are as a patient, the better able and empowered you will be to make important decisions when it comes to your health care.
- About Health: “How to Find a Doctor’s Medical Malpractice Suit Track Record”
- About Health: “What Can You Learn from Doctors Ratings or Rankings Websites?”