A number of useful sites on the Internet can help you find doctors, whether you are in search for primary care physician, a second opinion or you need to know something about a specific medical condition. All you need to find a doctor online is a computer with Internet access, the ability to use search engine sites like Google, and a method to discern whether the information that you discovered is accurate or not.
Here are some practical tips to find a doctor online:
- Decide the type of doctor that you need to talk to. Are you looking for a pediatrician or internist? Narrowing down your search will get results faster. If you want to ask a cardiologist a question, then you would search for something like “find a cardiologist online” or “talk to cardiologist.” This is more defined rather than if you input “find doctor online.” Your search will most likely result to plenty of information about individual physicians online. You need to be able to filter if the information that you stumbled upon is accurate.
- Browse different medical sites so you can pick a site you are most comfortable with. There are free sites where you can ask anything and everything to the doctor but there are those that will charge you before you can ask a doctor a question.
- Read reviews online. The more reviews that you read, the more likely you are to get a more complete understanding of a particular doctor. In addition, look for specific details on the review sites, especially about specific examples of what the doctor did right or wrong. Search for patterns as well. If you found complaints about a particular doctor, read about the complaints. If a specific complaint or pattern of complaints is found from more than one patient, look for doctors elsewhere. Try to distinguish between complaints about the doctor’s staff, and complaints about the doctor. Many excellent doctors are good at practicing medicine, but not so good at managing a large staff. This can lead to frustrations with the administrative services provided by their office, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t trust the doctor.
Various doctor sites that you can use to find reputable doctors include:
- Physician directories – These sites provide readers a list of basic facts about a doctor and their location. The list also includes such information as doctor’s education, experience, and practice locations.
- Board certification sites – For more comprehensive information about the education and training of a doctor, search sites like the American Board of Medical Specialties and the American Osteopathic Association. Learning the capabilities of a doctor is important so that you are able to know if a particular doctor can help you with your query.
- Physician ratings and ranking sites – Knowing how competent a doctor is should also be your consideration when searching for a physician online. These sites have sophisticated algorithms analyzing a doctor’s competency, but they can be ‘gamed’, so use them only as one factor in your search. Most sites also include patients’ opinions and reviews to help you out in your evaluation.
- Government-source licensing and experience sites – What these sites tell you is whether a particular doctor is licensed to practice his or her profession. Here, you can also find information about disciplinary actions.
- Personal health advice sites – When you visit medical or health sites, there is often a doctor or expert’s corner where you can ask about related medical questions. You can also use the information you found here in your search.