Intro To Choosing A Doctor

A few questions to ask before picking a doc.

Are they licensed in your state? The state or local professional licensing board can tell you.
Do they have board certification in the necessary speciality? The AMA or American Board of Medical Specialties can tell you.
How often have they performed the procedure? What’s their success rate?
Is their record clean? Check if there are complaints or disciplinary action taken. This info can be found for free at and, or for pay at,, and can give you more advice on identifying a provider. You can search by ailment and then click through the resources to find an official page of professional specialists. For instance, searching for “bed-wetting” leads us to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the American Academy of Pediatrics, sites we’ll be visiting before nightfall.


Edit Your Comment

  1. Pelagius says:

    I assume this guide is more useful for the un- or self-employed than it is for us wage slaves for whom a doctor search begins with “What doctors accept my company’s insurance plan?”

  2. Ben Popken says:

    Ack! Good point. I will add that.

  3. Ben Popken says:

    Or maybe not. That’s pretty much a given and as long as you have a choice of more than one doctor, parts of the post still apply.

  4. GregC1968 says:

    I’m a physician, and I think another thing to look at is how long has he or she has been in practice in that area. A red flag is when a doc keeps changing practices and locations every few years.

  5. JoyfulJoAnn says:

    I don’t think that the public is REALLY getting what they are looking for.
    My father died from a “doctor’s mistake” and all I received was a letter from the governer, and the doctor received what was called a “letter of negligence” from the State. I guess the doctor just threw that warning letter in the trash can when he got it. Meanwhile my father paid with his life.
    I contacted the State of FLA to see why the event could not be listed under his name when the public looks up his credentials…I never got an answer.

  6. Gobidad says:

    I’d like to add “the doctor works for YOU, not the other way around.” Restating the obvious sounds absurd, but I hear complaints all too often from frustrated friends and when I simply suggest they fire them and find one that better meets thier needs, it’s a revelation! The patient/doctor realtionship is a very intimate one and like any other relationship, not everyone is cut out to be together.

  7. greatbear355 says:

    What about doctors who perforn cosmetic surgery and botch it up. They have it made. There is no insurance involved and no lawyer will take your case. I had a procedure done(laser surgery) on my face of which a reputable recommended for some acne I had. I was given unhonest answers to my questions. I was severely burned and it took years for me to heal. I looked like a burn victim. The doctor treated me very poorly after this and I couldn’t find another doctor to help me for many years because noone wants to get involved. The doctor just dumped me and did nothing at all to try and help me. The whole situation made me very sick. Everyone at work kept asking me what happened to my face. I found out after searching on the internet that there are many people out there that have been hurt like this and the doctors get away with it and continue to go on and do the same to others without any problems. They destroy people’s lives and then just go on living normally and making lots of money. I developed a chronic abdominal condition of which I’ve been told may have happened from years of depression and anxiety. My live has never been the same never dreaming that a real doctor could and would do this and not care. This doctor has even written books and has been quoted in magazines. I wish you could see the pictures of me and others. People think that if they go to a real doctor that everything will be okay, but this isn’t true.

  8. zentec says:

    …and hope to heck that they not only accept your insurance, but your insurance will accept them.

    Not to rail on the healthcare industry nor the insurance industry, but this whole third-party payor system is so out of whack. I’m in the middle of a tug of war over a visit to the emergency room last July when I was stung by a wasp (yeah, anaphalactic reaction — good time, never knew the lil’ buggers would do that to me).

    The insurance gets to negotiate discounts yet those same discount percentages don’t apply to my co-pay. I don’t get it.