Doctors have the noblest of all professions and we trust them with our health. But not all doctors are the same. Just like any other field, there are good doctors and there are bad doctors. As patients, we often look up online reviews to check on a doctor’s reputation. Often what we read has an impact on our final decision. In today’s day and age, the internet is a boon and a bane at the same time, because there is a lot of information on how to check on a doctor’s reputation. The same information can be confusing. It gets difficult for patients to sort out useful details from all the distractions and rumors. But fret not, as this piece has been put together to enlist some tips that will help you in accurately conducting a doctor reputation check. Let’s get started!
Check for licensing: – In most cases, you can be sure that your doctor is licensed without having the need to run adoctor background check. However, not all doctors out there are licensed and there are some fraudulent people out there masquerading as doctors. In case you are unsure of a doctor’s license, you can check if or not they have a medical license. You can look up a doctor’s accreditations and the status of his or her licenses by simply going through a searchable database of physicians. If you still are in need of more clarity, you can look up the American Medical Association’s official web portal. Most doctors are members of the American Medical Association and the most dentists are part of the American Dental Association.
The importance of disciplinary actions: – It can be shocking to look up your doctor on search engines and find a disciplinary action against their names. These actions can be a cause for concern, depending on the nature of the actions. You can ignore disciplinary actions that arise through mistakes which have little to do with a doctor’s competence. But if disciplinary actions arise from problems like abuse of prescription privileges then you should think twice before sticking with the current doctor. It is also advised to steer clear of doctors who have had disciplinary actions for malpractice and negligence. However, if the doctor is still licensed to practice despite the disciplinary actions that means that the state medical board deems the doctor to be a competent health professional. The ultimate choice rests with you, whether you want to stay with the doctor or not, but you should know about the disciplinary actions against a doctor before making an appointment.
Here’s how you can look up disciplinary actions: – If you want to look for disciplinary actions and check on doctors malpractice, then you will have to do a fair bit of work. Sometimes doing so can be very difficult, other times it can be easy. There is sure a database that can come to your rescue, but unfortunately that database is not open for the public. Since hospitals and health care companies are privacy to such information, you can ask your insurer about the same. Some states offer a partial or full malpractice database which is open to the public and you can try your luck by doing a google search to check if there is a database for your state. If not, then you can stick to researching the doctor on search engines with his name along with identifiers like “malpractice” or “lawsuit”. Once you considerably research the doctor on search engines with a combination of different terms, it will give you a better idea of any doctor’s reputation.
Assessing online reviews: – Online reviews have made life very easy for consumers and it also is true for patients who want to check a doctor’s record. Provided the doctor in question has a lot of online reviews, they can be useful in getting a fair idea of the quality of his services. That being said, there are a couple of things you need to consider while going about assessing the reputation of your doctor through reviews. Make it a point to never make a final decision solely based on the star rating. While a doctor with a high star rating might be better than a doctor with a low star rating, there are still couple of things that you need to factor in such as :-
- Quantity of reviews: – If a doctor has a high number of reviews, then it has safely assumed that the average rating of the doctor is accurate. A doctor with a handful of reviews may be fantastic or horrible, but at the end of the day it’s just too few reviews to come to a definitive conclusion, for better or for worse.
- Length of reviews: – When you are looking up reviews to assess the reputation of a doctor, give more preference to longer reviews than the short ones. For better or worse, long reviews carry a lot of weight because it means that someone cared enough about the experience to talk about it in detail. You need to give such reviews more preference and read them more closely than the one-liners.
- Bedside Manner:- Bedside manner has absolutely nothing to do with the competence of a doctor but it still is one of the biggest factors why people prefer a doctor over others. You need to be extra cautious of the reviews which discuss the attitude of the doctor and other interpersonal skills. You need to keep an eye out for reviews that discuss different aspects of the doctor’s care.
The Bottom Line
It is important that you check a doctor’s reputation but you will be giving your health in the hands of the doctor. Make sure that the doctor is reputable and has a good track record of delivering results and working with honesty and integrity. If you have tried all the tips above and are still unsure of a doctor’s reputation, then you can hire online reputation management services of an online reputation management company, for the same purpose.