It would be great if every person who graduated medical school was equally talented in all areas. Sadly, that is not the case. Given that many insurance companies limit the doctors available to see, it is more important than ever to have a way of choosing the right doctor for your needs; especially if you need a doctor with a certain specialization. Many ratings systems are incomplete, inefficient, and still in their infancy.
Here’s a few things to keep in mind:
- Determine if you have special needs (eg. diabetes) or if you are just looking for routine check ups.
- In addition to internists, primary care physicians usually have a good network of specialists for referrals.
- Check to see if those physicians are on your health plan, which hospitals they are affiliated with, and convenient in terms of travel and scheduling.
- Try to get a physician who is board certified in whichever specialty is important for your needs.
The bottom line:
“Do your research,” said Dr. Samantha Collier, the chief medical officer for HealthGrades. “Don’t assume all physicians are equally skilled. More importantly, they need to be a good match for you. I hear so many patients tell me they really don’t like their doctor or trust their doctor but they keep going back. That is ridiculous. This is one of the most important relationships you’re ever going to have — you need to feel completely comfortable.”