Finding a good physician is a difficult process. If you’re like most people, you’d like to see a doctor with a good bedside manner and (more importantly) lots of experience. But it’s not as easy as it sounds, especially with the growing physician shortage in the US.
Several factors go into deciding if a doctor is right for you. For example, if you have specific health needs, you have to find a provider who practices in that field. Or if you’d like to find a physician who can treat your entire family, you want to find one who treats people of all ages. Whatever your particular health care needs may be, you want to vet your choices carefully.
Ask your friends
A great way to get doctor reviews is to ask your circle of friends. They know you best and will know what qualities to tell you about and who to recommend. But don’t limit it to just your inner circle. Ask anyone you talk to regularly at your hair salon or your kids’ school. And also get your friends to check with their own friends and coworkers to see which physicians they have seen and who they recommend.
Look for online reviews
Online doctor reviews are probably the best place to get objective feedback about a physician. This is true whether you are looking at reviews for all doctors in a specific area, or if you’re narrowing it down between a few different choices. You’ll be able to locate doctors and testimonials or criticisms on dedicated review sites or sometimes even on their own websites. Of course, if you’re checking reviews on a doctor’s professional website, keep in mind that they have the ability to remove negative information or simply not publish it at all.
Check social media
You can log onto Facebook and typically find hundreds of reviews on any doctor you look up. They will either have a private page or you’ll simply see comments from people who’ve “checked in” at their businesses. But the most helpful advice you can get is from Facebook groups which are specific to your local community. These might come in the form of selling pages or just community information groups. If you’re new to the area, the best way to start is by doing a search for your town or county and see what group pages pop up. Once you’ve joined, you can ask for recommendations. You’ll find that lots of people like to chime in, and they are happy to help.
Ask your previous doctor
If you need a new doctor because your previous provider retired, or because you are moving to a new town, it’s good to ask your old doctor for a referral. Most physicians have plenty of connections in the medical community. This means they probably know someone who could give you the same quality of care that you’re used to. They might also be able to refer you to the new doctor even if he or she isn’t publicly taking on new patients at the moment.
A doctor referral saves you a step when transferring medical records and gives your previous physician a chance to pass along any specialized information that might affect your care. Getting a referral from your current physician is especially important if you have to see a specialist for specific health problems, such as diabetes or digestive issues.