Find A Doctor By Using The Tools Around You
In the old days, there was only a couple of ways to find a doctor: you either asked some friends or family members for recommendations or you simply picked one out of the phone book. Today, many people have considerable restrictions on which physician they can choose. Insurance companies have a limited number of physicians in their network and if you go outside of that network you can expect to pay exorbitant out-of-pocket costs. For most people, that simply isn't an option.
Recently, some insurance companies have begun trying to help their customers out when it comes to finding the best physician. While many don't trust their insurance company to help them find a doctor, it is one way to get some preliminary opinions. Some insurance companies have begun putting their physicians in a ranking system, a subject that has come under a great deal of criticism and scrutiny by health professionals. They argue that the insurance companies are judging by criteria that rewards physicians for things that may not matter to the average patient, such as low costs and efficiency. These rankings do more to help the insurance company's bottom line than the patient's.
As far as doing your own original research, much of it comes down to deciding what it is you want out of your medical care. Are you looking for a general practitioner or a specialist. Try to find a doctor who practices in your area, making trips to the office as convenient as possible. If you already have a primary care physician, don't be afraid to ask them for a referral. Look at their hospital affiliations. Not only are hospital affiliations usually the sign of a dedicated and competent professional, which hospitals they are affiliated with can make a difference in your decision.
If you're serious about getting some background information on a particular physician, you can check with the state medical board to make sure their license is valid and up to date and if they've had any disciplinary action taken against them. Going even further, you can find out if your physician is board certified, which means they have passed a rigorous written exam, showing their dedication to their craft and their adherence to a higher standard.
If all else fails, you can use the internet to help you find a doctor. New sites are popping up every day that allow consumers to rank area physicians and give out their opinions. While you'll want to take the occasional rage-driven comment with a grain of salt, a vast array of comments all saying the same sort of thing could be a red flag.