Finding a doctor is serious business—whether you’re looking for a primary care physician, a specialized doctor, or even a dentist—picking the one who’s right for you is critical. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy just checking into Yelp and finding out who has five stars. Web sites like Health Grades, Doctor Finder, and RateMDs do exist, but most physicians suggest these ratings aren’t a good representation of a doctor’s skill. Instead, to find a good doctor, you’ll have to do some legwork.
Decide What Kind of Doctor You Need
We all need a different kind of doctor at different times of our lives. If you have special medical needs, you might even need a specialist, or at the very least, a primary care physician who has experience with your needs. Even still, speaking with Dr. Pamela F. Gallin, The New York Times notes that your best starting place might be a primary care physician:
“Do you have special medical needs, such as cardiac problems or rheumatology problems, or do you just need routine checkups? Do you have diabetes? Does your lifestyle put you in a certain category of risk?”
While some internists have additional training in cardiology or rheumatology… primary care physicians also have a network of trusted specialists for referrals.
You want to find a doctor that suits your medical needs, and who has dealt with your issues before. If you’re completely stuck on who to go to, a primary care physician is a good starting point because they can refer you to a specialist.
–Thorin Klosowski, Lifehacker