We trust doctors with our most prized possession: our health. However, patients might wonder, “How do we check for the reputation of our doctors?” This is essential because if we are to commit our health into the hands of any medical practitioner, his/her history needs to be superb.
Today, several online reputation management techniques sources of information are available to us, so it can be exhausting to try to separate useful information from rumors and distractions. However, this guide aims to resolve this problem by providing tips on how you can reliably check a doctor’s reputation.
5 simple steps to checking a doctor’s reputation
- Check for licensing
Usually, you can be relatively confident a doctor has a license to practice medicine without carrying out any form of background check. Nonetheless, there are stories in the news about unlicensed practitioners claiming to be doctors.
If you are suspicious; here’s how to check for licensing.
A doctor’s reputation management differs as each state has a board that offers licenses and each board have a database where you can search for physicians who have been granted permission to practice in the state. Simply enter the name of the doctor and the type of license to see the details of the doctor’s accreditations and license status.
A state can, however, provide different types of medical licenses or give a doctor several licenses depending on the kind of law and practice in such state. Carefully examine the listed permissions in the doctor’s profile to see if they need any extra certifications before they can be valid.
If you are still not convinced, you can also search for a licensed doctor at the official web portal of the American Medical Association. Although not all doctors are members of this association, many of them are. If your doctor is not a member, you can ask him/her why not, since it is a sign of professionalism to maintain an active membership. This information is also applicable for dentists and American Dental Association membership.
Look for Disciplinary Actions
The next step is to look for disciplinary actions. To accomplish this, however, you will need to do a bit sleuthing. It has recently become more difficult to determine this aspect of a physician’s reputation. Disciplinary actions and other issues of value to patients are stored in the National Practitioners Data Bank. This database is maintained by the federal government and cannot be accessed by the public.
Some states, such as New York and Illinois, provide a full or partial malpractice database for the public. Go to Google, and search to see whether there is a database available in your state. If not, Google the name of your doctor and “malpractice” or “lawsuit”. Do thorough research online using the keyword in a quote. This should give you a detailed view of the reputation of any doctor.
Evaluate online reviews
Online reviews say much about an organization; the same is applicable in healthcare. Check to see whether your doctor has many online reviews; they can prove to be significant in assessing the quality of his/her services.
However, it is vital you know how to read and interpret online reviews. Don’t assume a doctor’s reputation is great merely by the star rating. Although a doctor with a 5-star average is usually better than one with a 1-star average; you still need to consider some essential qualifiers such as:
- Review length: A long review has more power than a short one; read closely.
- Quantity: The more reviews there are the accurate the overall picture becomes.
Ask about Drug Representatives
Most physicians allow a representative from pharmaceutical companies into their offices to examine their drugs. This can be a tedious job for the doctor because he needs to access the drugs to see whether they are actually what the hospital needs. A good doctor who cares about his profession will always want to check the drugs that come into the facility and not leave that task to pharmaceutical company representatives.
Examine the Doctor Yourself
If you want to determine the reputation of a doctor, the last step involves doing some testing yourself. You need to find answers to the following questions:
- Does the doctor listen to his/her patient without interrupting?
- Does he/she fully answer their questions?
- Does he/she try to explain diagnosis and treatment to the understanding of his patient?
Doctors are vital in our society. If you want to put your health in the hands of any physician, you need to be sure of his/her professionalism. If you don’t know how to go about this, the above tips are a starting point to guide you in searching for information about the reputation of a doctor.