How to find the best doctor?
It’s not easy as you may think.
Medically reviewed and written by Ashwin Malhotra, M.D. — June 1st, 2021
A google search for the best-anything these days will turn a ton of results. Who’s the actual best? Is it the results on page 1? Or is it based on the best credentials i.e., where your doctor went to school?
Finding the right or the best doctor has never been an easy task. Digital Advertising has made this process much easier but there are a few pitfalls that we discuss here today.
Google page 1 just means the digital marketing budget of the physician or organization is really good. It is not a measure of the quality of medical care. A better way to truly discover the quality of medical care is to investigate your physician’s credentials. This includes checking any pending malpractice cases, verifying if board certifications are active, and screening where one trained.
This is key because certain training programs are really amazing at specific things. For example, I trained at NYP Weill Cornell in Manhattan, New York, where I saw many rare neuromuscular diseases, strokes syndromes, and seizures disorders. I did not see a single case of Leprosy in all my years of medical education, residency, and fellowship training. Whereas, some of my colleagues who trained in India have seen over 100s of cases of Leprosy. So, if someone had Leprosy, I would likely not be their first pick physician.
By screening where you physician trained, you can get an idea of what types of disease they have more exposure to. Similarly, checking to see active board certification status is helpful. Board Certifications are very important and provide a level of authenticity, and confirm your doctor is uptodate on the latest medical advancement. Most Board Certifications need to be recertified every 7-10 years because medicine is forever evolving.
Let’s say you found a few physicians who trained at great institutions and are Board Certified, now what?
Online Review Stars
Online reviews were a great parameter in the past. They were similar to a discussion with an acquaintance about a service or product. They were unfiltered and honest. Nowadays however, every medical organization or medical office has a marketing department or firm making sure online reviews are policed and only the best reviews go out to become public and the poorly rated ones are handled internally.
Not only that, but reviews regarding physicians often surround the wait time in the clinic or the amount of time a physician spend with the patient. However, these should not be the most significant metrics to review quality of medical care in my opinion. I admit wait times are important, but making the correct and ethical medical decisions is more important. Furthermore, physicians often have to take actions not favored by patients, such as tapering pain medicines or limiting unnecessary testing. This can often times provoke negative reviews for some physicians, even after the doctor acted in the best interest of the patient and provided the best medical care.
So, Should I Just Doctor Shop?
Yes, this is the way. I believe there is no such thing as the perfect physician, but finding a doctor that fits your needs and personality is much more likely and manageable. It may require multiple attempts. I suggest finding a physician you feel most comfortable with and trust to make the best medical decisions on your behalf is the key. This goes beyond the online marketing, digital image, and online reviews.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]