When we go to the doctor, we carefully read the paperwork they give us to fill out and sign, then disclose everything there is to know about ourselves medically and personally. Between the lab tests and paperwork, your doctor now knows more about you than your friends and at times family.
The medical information being collected on us is greater than ever right now. Having the right information is crucial to providing great healthcare, but if you really think about it, the flow of information is very one-directional. How much do you really know about your doctor?
Here are a few helpful tips that one can use when selecting a new doctor:
- Finding a great doctor starts with you:
- Get enough sleep
- Toss the tobacco and use alcohol in moderation
- Learn to better manage stress
- Stay active and eat healthy
- Be honest with the doctor
- If you have health insurance, get the list of doctors that are in your network. Otherwise, make sure the doctor accepts your insurance and know in advance what your insurance will cover. If you are uninsured, be sure to ask for the average cost for a new patient and existing patient visit.
- Verify that the doctor has staff privileges at a nearby accredited hospital.
- Check to see if the doctor performs surgery. If so, which surgeries does he/she perform and what are the average fees associated with those procedures.
- Screen the doctors medical background:
- Verify that his/her medical license is active in your state.
- Search for Medical Board Actions in the states they have practiced.
- Search for Medical Malpractice or Negligence cases in the cities they have practiced.
- Read their reviews from the top review sites.
Most of the time, we look at the list of doctors in our network and choose one based on how close their office is. Shouldn’t we research which doctor we choose just as much as we do a used car before we decide?
This is exactly what a prominent blogger did before going under the knife for gastric bypass surgery. She came across South Florida healthcare startup EZDoctor which offers a complete and comprehensive background report on any doctor for $19.95.
Imagine the report as a CarFax for your doctor. It’s been on the market for about a year and was the best kept secret for many attorneys, insurance companies, and physician hiring managers. The secret was out when she wrote about how she ordered reports on five doctors she was considering. She was shocked to see that that three of the doctors had malpractice cases against them that were very serious, and another had been reprimanded by the state medical board for illicit drug use and lack of properly sanitizing surgical instruments.
EZDoctor Reports are delivered as a multi-page PDF document. The first page includes the physician's general identifying information, medical specialties, education, and licensing. Subsequent pages feature pricing data for the most typical procedures presented alongside state averages for the same procedures. Price, of course, is just one factor in choosing a doctor – reputation as a medical provider is arguably more important. With the addition of medical board disciplinary actions, medical malpractice cases, prescribing habits, criminal offenses, and data showing compensation or ownership in pharmaceutical companies, one can truly say they know his/her doctor.
I'm reminded of the joke:
Q: "What do you call a medical student that graduated at the bottom of his/her class?"…
It’s sad but true and unfortunately, it’s very taboo to question a physician about his/her background. Healthcare consumers can now learn as much about their doctor as they would about a home or car they're considering buying. You would never hire a babysitter to watch the children without checking their background and references. For life and death decisions, this kind of transparency only makes sense.
Here's a promotional video about EZDoctor Reports: