Find the Right Doctor for You on Healthgrades

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    The Keys to Finding Quality Care
    First and foremost, Healthgrades believes healthcare decisions should be informed by quality measures. The more you know about your doctor’s skills and experience, the more likely you are to get the specific care you need.


    Whether you’re looking up a doctor referred by a friend or starting your search from scratch, ask yourself these questions as you evaluate and compare providers so you can find the right one for you.



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    1. Is the doctor qualified?
    When searching for a doctor, experience matters. But it’s also important to find a provider with the specific experience you need for your condition or procedure. That’s why each Healthgrades profile includes one of two features that make it easy to see a provider’s areas of expertise.

     

    Top Care Areas highlights the conditions and procedures a provider treats or performs most often. This ranking shows how a provider’s volume for those areas compares with his or her peers nationwide.


    Experience Match calculates how closely a provider meets your search criteria based on up to nine factors, including specialty, volume of patients treated, board certification and more. When comparing doctors, you can use the Experience Match scores as a quick-glance guide to see which ones are right for you. Scores are calculated on a scale of 0 to 100. The higher the number, the better.



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    2. Does the doctor treat the specific condition affecting you?
    Doctors within the same specialty can treat a variety of different conditions, and those differences in training can affect your results. Look for the list of treated conditions on a doctor’s profile to make sure he or she has the expertise you need.

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    3. Does the doctor perform the specific procedure you need?
    Look for the list of procedures performed on a doctor’s profile to make sure he or she has the experience you need.



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    4. Is this doctor covered by your insurance?
    Before you look for a doctor, it’s important to know the details of your insurance plan--specifically which providers are in your network—in order to minimize your out-of-pocket costs. When you have the opportunity to select or change your coverage, such as during Open Enrollment, take time to research providers on Healthgrades. Then look for a plan that includes the highly-rated doctors you’d like to see.



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    5. Are this doctor’s location and office hours convenient for you?
    The quality of your care should take top priority, but you’re also more likely to see your doctor regularly if it’s convenient for you. If necessary, check the office’s proximity to public transportation. Make sure you can schedule appointments during the times you’re available. What type of after-hours communication does the practice offer? The easier it is for you to get to your doctor, the easier it will be for you to get the right care.

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    6. What do other patients say?
    By submitting Patient Experience Surveys, other Healthgrades users like you have provided take note of scores in individual areas—such as communication, office environment and staff friendliness--and consider which factors are most important to you.

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    7. Do you prefer a male or female doctor?
    You’re more likely to keep seeing a doctor who makes you feel comfortable. Given the personal nature of some medical interactions, you may find it easier to talk to a provider of one gender over another. 

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    8. Is age a factor?
    A doctor’s age may indicate a level of experience or familiarity with the latest medical treatments and technologies, though keep in mind doctors of all ages receive ongoing training throughout their careers. Also consider the length of the care you need. If you want to see a doctor for several years to come, you may want to choose someone who isn’t close to retirement.

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    9. Are you looking for an MD or a DO? (And what’s the difference?)
    Medical doctors (MDs) practice traditional medicine focusing on treatment through therapy, medications and surgery. Osteopathic doctors (DOs) supplement their medical school curriculum by learning a more hands-on form of diagnosis, emphasizing self-healing and wellness. Both are fully qualified doctors, and both can prescribe medicine and perform surgery.

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    10. What’s most important to you?
    Now that you have a full picture of the doctor’s qualifications, consider which factors mean the most to you. Do years of experience performing a procedure take priority over low reviews for office staff friendliness? Does a 3-star doctor who’s affiliated with a 5-star hospital sound better than a 5-star doctor who works at a 3-star hospital? It may take a little time to find the right doctor for you, but it’s nothing compared to the consequences of being treated by someone without the right experience. After all, we’re talking about your health and the health of your family here—and at Healthgrades, nothing matters to us more.



Find the Right Doctor for You on Healthgrades

About The Author

Christine Moore is senior content principal for Healthgrades, where she writes and edits content for the editorial, marketing and product teams. A graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Christine previously worked at Cartoon Network Digital as a writer, producer and associate creative director.
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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.