At some point in our lives we will all need the services of a competent, caring physician to take care of us or provide care to a family member. We may be looking for a surgeon (general, vascular, cardio-thoracic, orthopedist), primary care doctor, internal medicine doctor, urologist, oncologist, nephrologist, gynecologist, pediatrician, and the list goes on and on and on. The need will be there but how do you find a well-trained and competent physician?
If you are looking for a good doctor, I suggest you do the following:
1. Ask neighbors and friends.
2. Ask other healthcare providers with whom you may already have a relationship.
3. Meet the doctor, ask questions and expect intelligible answers. If the doctor is too busy to meet with you and answer your questions, move on!
4. In Virginia, search the Virginia Department of Health Professions web site to see if that regulatory body has ever taken action against the doctor’s license to practice medicine. Search for your doctor here.
5. Ask the doctor (or his staff) if he/she is board certified in his/her speciality. The American Board of Medical Specialities provides up-to-date professional and biographical information on physicians who have met the certification requirements of their respective medical specialty boards.
6. Search Google to see what general information is available.
7. Last but not least, get a second opinion for anything serious.
My Take: You must take the lead in finding and getting good medical care. The days of “whatever the good doctor says and does” is over.