Searching for a Care Provider? These Tools Can Help.
Finding the right doctor can be a challenge. With so many clinics, specialists, and health systems to choose from, patients often get overwhelmed with choice. How to know who’s the best? The kindest? The most knowledgeable? It’s like looking for a (hypodermic) needle in a haystack.
Luckily, medical companies have plenty of technological power at their fingertips. Consumer advocates, too, have put together some nifty tools to help you find the right doctor. With a little bit of research and the right gadgets, you can collect vital information.Here are some of the best resources out there.
The United States Department of Health and Human Services has put together an in-depth and easy-to-use site called healthfinder.gov. Healthfinder.gov provides users with free access to a variety of information.
The site’s Find Services Near You feature can help you find all types of health-related resources, including doctors, dentists, health organizations, and patient care services. You can browse directories by care type, condition type, or many other types.
Because it’s government-run, you can trust that the information you find on Healthfinder.gov is unbiased and accurate. This site is a solid place to begin your search for expert medical care.
Many healthcare companies have put together mobile apps to help users find doctors. These apps are great for people who don’t have access to a desktop computer, or for when you’re in an emergency in an unfamiliar city:
- Blue Cross Blue Shield’s Hospital Finder is available for all major smartphones. This app will show you nearby clinics, hospitals, and providers. One extra benefit of using a health insurance provided app, such as this one, is that you’ll be able to find clinics that take your insurance.
- American Medical Association’s DoctorFinder is admittedly only moderately mobile friendly, but it does provide users with a great deal of information about how and where to find physicians, both specialty and primary care.
Sometimes you just want to hear from people like yourself. With the internet, you can get plenty of data that doesn’t come from insurance providers or other people who have financial stakes in a provider. Yelp offers hospital reviews from users, as do other similar sites. Check out a few online user ratings to get a sense of how people feel about a doctor you’re thinking about seeing. No provider is going to be everyone’s cup of tea, and user-generated ratings sites will help you make an informed decision as to what kind of care you’ll get.
Additionally, some governments have put up ratings lists. MNhealthscores.org, for instance, rates Minnesota care providers on care quality, cost, and other factors. Check your local government’s pages to see if you have access to something similar.
For patients, it’s crucial to know that your doctor knows what he or she is doing. At CertificationMatters.org, you can search your provider by name to see whether he or she has been board certified. If your doctors has not been certified as qualified by peers, you might want to start shopping for another.