How To Find a Doctor (And Feel Confident About Your Choice)

Professional photo of a fibroid specialist in work attire wearing a stethoscope.
Dr. Eric DePopas, MD

Dr. Eric DePopas, MD

PainTheory Chief Medical Officer
Vascular & Interventional Radiologist

Everyone will need a doctor at some point in their life, but searching and selecting the right physician for your health needs isn’t always easy. There are more than one million active physicians in the US, and it can be overwhelming trying to navigate their services, certifications, and specialties.

Table of Contents

The internet makes it easy to find doctors, but choosing a quality doctor requires more time. Still, the process doesn’t have to be overly complex. Here are 5 tips to help you find a doctor online:

Check health insurance coverage

Your health insurance plays a big part in deciding your doctor. Choosing a doctor outside of your insurance network won’t be detrimental to your health, but it might be to your wallet. 

To find a doctor in your network, browse your insurer’s directory or speak to customer service on the phone. If you have a pre-existing condition or want to see a specialist, be sure to specify what services are covered under your plan in order to avoid unexpected fees.

Likewise, doctors’ offices can drop and add accepted insurance plans without much notice, so it’s helpful to phone their office and verify your coverage. 

DID YOU KNOW

According to the CDC, 84.9% of adults and 95.6% of children in the United States saw a doctor in the past year.

Target expert sources for specialty medicine

If you have a specific medical condition or question, consider asking a medical specialist. Examples of specialty medicine include:

Specialists are experts in their field, and can access sophisticated diagnostic tests and treatments, plus offer closer, more tailored care than a general physician. Online platforms like PainTheory provide contact information and avoid referral delays. 

At PainTheory, we specialize in relief from fibroids and chronic pain and connect people with high-quality medical professionals who advise and execute treatment in those areas. The platform also has an expedited scheduling tool to coordinate appointments with a specialist in 24 to 48 hours, alongside on-demand support to answer questions about care. 

PainTheory provides straightforward access to effective treatments and empowers people to make smart decisions about their doctor and ultimately, their health. 

Research doctors’ medical credentials

When you visit a doctor in person, it’s not uncommon to see their degrees and qualifications hanging on the wall, but don’t wait until your visit to verify their credentials. When you’re looking for a doctor online it’s worthwhile checking a potential doctor’s credentials before scheduling an appointment. 

All doctors need a bachelor’s degree, a four-year medical school degree, and an additional three to seven years of training depending on their specialty. The most common credentials for a doctor are:

M.D.

In the United States, M.D. is the most common credential awarded to doctors. Standing for Doctor of Medicine, a person receives an M.D. at the completion of med school and a residency.

D.O.

In the United States, M.D. is the most common credential awarded to doctors. Standing for Doctor of Medicine, a person receives an M.D. at the completion of med school and a residency.

M.B.B.S.

M.B.B.S. is an international degree for bachelor of medicine or surgery. It is the international equivalent of an M.D. in places like the UK.

Certification Matters is a top resource to see whether a doctor is certified in the United States. If you’re unsure about a potential doctor’s credentials, feel free to ask them, they should provide a clear explanation. On top of that, you can always research the schools, hospitals, and other places a physician has worked to get a sense of their professional background.

Consider the doctor’s location

Virtual appointments have revolutionized medicine especially during the COVID-19 pandemic; however, many patients find proximity to be an important factor when selecting a specialist. It’s worth thinking about how far you’re willing, or able, to travel to see your doctor. It is also important to understand where procedures take place relative to a doctor’s office; if you have to travel extra distances, that may need to be factored into your final decision depending on your day-to-day mobility. 

Look at patient reviews

Social feedback is a powerful way to gauge if a service is right for you. Reading patient reviews helps you learn more about doctors.

Patient reviews assess a doctor’s care and give information from real patients that you wouldn’t necessarily find on their website or from staff.

DID YOU KNOW

According to a survey from the University of Michigan’s med school, 65% of people check online physician ratings, and of that group, 35% select a doctor based on positive reviews and 37% avoid a doctor because of negative reviews.

In particular, reviews can tell you about:

Be sure to look for trends in how a doctor is reviewed rather than hunting for one bad review. Here are a few site examples that are popular for patient reviews:

Finding Doctors Suited to Your Needs

Doing a little homework instead of making an uninformed decision about finding a doctor will be helpful in finding healthcare that best matches your needs. Remember, a doctor isn’t a stranger you see for ten minutes, they’re someone you share intimate information with, and someone you should trust with your (and potentially your loved ones’) wellbeing. 

Through online platforms like PainTheory, you can find specialized help from legitimate medical professionals in your area, without the worries of walking into an environment that hasn’t been properly vetted.

We're here to help

Our team is happy to help with any questions you may have. We are available for calls and texts during typical business hours, otherwise schedule a call or send us an email at your convenience.

 

The information included in this document in no way substitutes for medical advice.

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