My Health Counts! Partnering with Your Doctor

Finding Doctor Right

Getting peace of mind about health care begins largely with finding the right doctor—one who values openness and trust and provides high-quality care. Despite medical advances, the most powerful medical intervention we have is still a trusting, caring relationship between you and your doctor. You get the best care when you and your doctor work well together as a team.

Job description for the ideal doctor - “Wanted: Caring professional with excellent communication skills, solid clinical judgment, and honed technical abilities. A person I can proudly call My Doctor. You collect key medical and personal information and put the puzzle pieces together in a way that makes sense. You recognize that I am the expert on my own body and offer insights based on your knowledge and experience that guide me to make the most sense for me. When we don't see eye-to-eye, we respectfully agree to disagree. I trust you deeply. One day my life could be in your hands.”

Assessing your relationship with your doctor should be an ongoing process. Look for ways to improve your current relationship as it can be challenging to find a new primary care physician in many areas and partnership building takes time.

If you come to the decision that you need to find a new doctor, it's best to do the research when you're not under pressure. Don't wait until illness strikes to look for a doctor. A good start is gathering information about your insurance and making some general decisions about your care. Look for basic information - check credentials, hospital affiliation, location, hours and other information that may be important to you like gender, language, cultural background. Then, schedule a preliminary appointment to see if it's a good match.

Unfortunately checking into a doctor's credentials can be a challenge. If you are just trying to get basic information like medical school, residency, fellowship, licensing, or board certification, then you can start with your state medical board.

In New York State visit www.nydoctorprofile.com

You can also try something like www.Healthgrades.com (they charge for the info) or www.ucomparehealthcare.com (no charge there).

The problem is - they make it look like you will also get the other info (like legal actions, malpractice, etc.) - BUT - the information they show is provided by the physician who has no responsibility for keeping it updated. Here's their disclaimer:

The data collected by the New York State Department of Health is accurate to the best of the knowledge of the Department, based on the information supplied by the physician who is the subject of the data. While the Department utilizes a variety of sources of information in checking the accuracy of the data reported, we cannot be sure that all of the information on this Web site is right and up-to-date, and cannot be responsible for any information that is wrong.

Often, if you are looking for more in-depth information, like about legal actions or malpractice, the only way to get the information is to google the doctor's name and the word "malpractice" or any combination that will help you get information about legal actions.

Remember—keeping a strong relationship with your doctor is one of the key steps to staying healthy!

 

More on Finding Dr. Right on the web:

Choose the Right Doctor

Whether you need to make a change in your primary care doctor, or if you need a specialist to take care of your specific symptoms, you'll want to follow these guidelines to choose the right doctor for your medical care. (from Trisha Torrey About.com: Empowered Patient)

 

Healthfinder.gov

Are you looking for a doctor, health center, organization, or public library to help you with your health care needs and questions? Browse resources to find people and places offering services and support.

 

Medline Plus Directories