Exploring Human Potential

Do you know a Great Doctor?

Posted on | March 3, 2008 | Comments Off on Do you know a Great Doctor?

If so, that’s great news. But do you also know how to FIND a Great Doctor?If you’re in need of a primary care provider or a specialist, where do find the greatest doctors?  Visit Google, enter “How to find a great doctor” and you’ll find 125,000,000 results. Where do you begin the search?

Sure, you could go to the yellow pages to find a doctor, but that is really of no value since you’re only finding the names and locations of doctors.  Who are they?  Are they great?  What’s their bedside manner like?  Do they treat staff with dignity and respect?  What’s their educational background?  In a world of health care consumerism, this method of finding a great doctor just won’t cut it.

A hospital’s physician referral service is another option.  Physicians are referred by the hospital, but are they great doctors?  The physician referral service will provide the consumer with a list of physicians’ names, phone numbers, and educational information; they will not give you any specific information about them regarding their overall rapport.  What’s their communication style?  How do they interact with their patients?  How do they interact with family members?   Do they listen and take time to answer questions?  How do they interact with staff?  Do they clearly explain information?

The list on Google goes on and on for finding a great doctor, but how do you decipher all of the websites that provides this information to the savvy health care consumers?  Trying to make sense of all these sites could take time and can be a bit frustrating.  

One smart option is to ask the very professionals who work closely with doctors every day.  These professionals are registered nurses.  As a registered nurse I’m always being asked by family and friends to recommend a great doctor.  Nurses are the most trusted health professionals, according to the Gallup Poll.  So it’s a no-brainer that trusted nurses recommend doctors.  Nurses work extremely closely with doctors.  They know who is great and who isn’t.  They know who’s at the top of their game, who’s sharp and who knows how to communicate well with patients. They know who they would seek out as their primary health care provider and specialist for themselves and for their family.  To find the best of the best of doctors, ask a nurse.  

In the book, “YOU the Smart Patient: An Insider’s Handbook for Getting the Best Treatment,” by Michael F. Roizen, MD and Mehmet C. Oz, MD, the authors discuss this very issue, about asking a nurse to identify the best doctors.  “These registered nurses get a battlefield view of doctors at their best and worst.  They know who’s sharp, who’s respected, who stays on top of things, who sees their patients and knows what they are doing in the ER, who uses the best consultants, and who guesses correctly 80 percent of the time,” say Roizen and Oz in their book.  “They also know which doctors are indecisive, which ones get second-guessed, which ones tend to get their test delayed, which ones guess correctly 40 percent of the time, and which ones are unusually slow in answering pages,”  say Roizen and Oz. As a registered nurse, I understand these interactions with doctors.  I consider myself their colleague and believe that we work together providing great care for patients and their families.  Dr. Roizen and Dr. Oz point out that to try to find the best doctors; you may need to do a little detective work.  

You could be your own detective and try to track down this information the next time you’re visiting a family member or friend in the hospital, as suggested by Roizen and Oz, but how about knowing this all in advance? Unless you’re already best friends with a nurse, chances are trying to research the best and greatest doctors on your own without the trusted knowledge of a nurse and a nurse’s “insider’s guide” can be overwhelming and stressful.

If you’re not best friends with a nurse, there is an online resource that will provide you with the names of great doctors recommended by nurses who know them best. At CareSeek you’ll get the trusted recommendations from nurses to help you seek out the best health care provider.  Nurses can recommend doctors for whom they work with — whether it’s in an office setting or a hospital where they get a “battlefield view of doctors” as Dr. Roizen and Dr. Oz pointed out — and they can also recommend doctors that they use as their own health care provider.  Because of the nurses’ professional frame of reference, her reviews of her personal doctor are well qualified, and usually include observations very important to quality care.

Now I can include my best doctor recommendations on a trusted online resource for consumers.  Patients, families and medical professionals have the opportunity to contribute to this online resource community by providing health care consumers with accurate, trusted information they need to make better choices regarding their health care providers.  This first hand and first rate online information is now available to the public so they can become the savvy health consumers that they should be.

(Barbara Ficarra is a registered nurse, journalist and founder and executive producer of the radio show “Health in 30™.”  She can be reached at [email protected]. Opinions expressed by Health Commentary guest bloggers do not necessarily represent the views of Health Commentary.)


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