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Does anyone have any advice about how to get free information on doctors (such as profile, patient reviews, etc.)? I'm looking for something free and simple just to check out a doctor prior to going to them. I've come across a couple of websites, but they have some lengthy, wordy user agreements that I'm not sure about. Any info or advice would be greatly appreciated!
Leah from Shelbyville, TN
Stay away from the private websites that seem designed to give you doc info...they are ONLY giving you the info the docs want you to see. Essentially, they are carefully packaged advertising for docs.
Go through your state websites looking for the doc licensing search. that will give you a start. You also want to look at your state or country's criminal and civil search engines.
If your state is very closed about that info; write your legislators! You don't really want to hire a doc that has big money troubles or something like that.
Be a SAVVY consumer! Your interest should be in their proven education and supervised training NOT what in advertising phrases.
Key phrases to avoid or at least research much more in depth:
"specializing in" = we want to sell you this service. It does not mean the doc has ANY board certifications (proven knowledge) has taken a residency in, etc. "caring", "partners in health", "family friendly", etc =
advertising phrases to fill hte page because they do NOT have advanced education or training in ANYTHING.
"___years experience" or "fully qualified"= more unverifiable advertising phrases. Experience does NOT equate to education or supervised training.
Practice Name means NOTHING. You could call your office "Family Practice Docs" but that does NOT mean there's even a single board certified family practice doc employed or that any have even taken a residency in any field.
AVOID offices that employ Physician Assts, Nurse practitioners, etc. You are paying for a doc and you want to hire the best educated and trained person possible.
AVOID offices that use "wellness exams" and preventive medicine all over their ads. Docs who advertise for these services do so because they are ZERO liability, TOP dollar services. RARELY are they done even half as well as they should be.
Ask questions. If a doc refuses to provide info when you are interviewing them; DO NOT HIRE them. You wouldn;t hire a gardner who refused to answer questions would you?
Ask about what services they routinely perform in their practice. You want to know they can handle suturing, complex medical problems, simple fractures, etc. Many offices function as band aid stations charging you a good $150-$250 simply to tell you to go someplace else.
Check operation hours and days too. They might sound great but if you have to take off work and drive 2 hours for an appt. it costs you a LOT every time you need to hire them.
Also, not everyone in your family needs to go to the same office. Except when kids get vaccinations or school exams; you do NOT go to the doc at the same time!
Select your docs based on the individual needs. A woman may like to have a female doc but her husband would likely be less comfortable with that. Your kids should go to a board certified pediatrician. You want your OB/GYN needs cared for by a board certified OB/GYN and NOT the female PA if you are concerned about getting the best educated, trained and most qualified person to hire for your health care needs.
Lastly, do NOT volunteer any info that could indicate you have the SLIGHTEST bit of medical knowledge, education or experience. Some offices ask your occupation on the financial paperwork. If it's in the medical field; be very general. If you work with a computer; you do computer work and leave off the part where you're a nurse or office administrator. You get the idea.
You get NO better treatment by telling a provider how much you know about medicine. ALL you're doing is RADICALLY decreasing their responsibilities because if the patient has medical knowledge or experience; they are deemed responsible for knowing if what their provider was doing or recommending was safe or responsible. It's called "contributory negligence" and even if a doc slaughters you on the table; your family might get nothing if the doc's lawyers can prove you should have known better than to listen to their client. It's the most successful malpractice defense in existence so leave your ego at home when you go to the doc.
Good luck and ask questions, including info about cost and billing!
Rate Doctors Website - might help you. You can hear what the patients have to say & see where they were educated.
try www.ratemds.com (i believe that is the website, i am pressed for time at the moment so can't check it and i can't seem to find where i wrote it down), if this doesn't come up try www.md.com (google it if necessary)
I am a medical transcriptionist and use www.healthgrades.com ALL the time. You should try it!