Finding the right doctor is one of the most important decisions you can make for your health, and technology can make the process a breeze — if you’re using the right tools. While you now have the ability to see all the care options available, it can be nearly impossible to know what’s best for you.
When looking for a healthcare provider, it’s common to ask friends and family for recommendations or turn to online customer review sites to see what others have to say. However, while reviews are great for picking a new phone or finding a restaurant, they don’t properly evaluate the experience and training of doctors and the quality of their healthcare experience.
Taking the reins to find the best care can feel daunting, but there are steps you can take to feel empowered in your patient journey. Here’s what you can do to ensure you’re getting the best possible health care.
1. Know There’s More Than Reviews
Just because a doctor has good reviews doesn’t necessarily mean they are the right fit for you. In fact, there is no relationship between online ratings and physician quality. While user reviews can help provide context about a doctor’s communication style, policies and condition of their office, they should not be the gold standard used to find care.
The federal government has been working to ensure physician quality data is widely available, and while it’s limited to simple overall practice metrics, Physician Compare is a good place to start when looking for a primary care physician.
2. Seek Out Experts
If you already have a diagnosis or a family history of certain conditions, it’s important that you see a specialist who can provide expert care. With over 7,000 different health conditions, it’s impossible for your primary care physician to be an expert in each one, making it critical to find a doctor who has expertise and experience in your *specific condition, especially if it is very rare or serious.
But finding an expert isn’t an easy task. Many patients lose hundreds of hours searching for the best treatment. I know this firsthand, as my family spent years trying to find someone who could provide novel treatment options to my brother suffering from a rare form of cancer.
Thankfully, online platforms (like MediFind) can alleviate this process. By using a specialty search tool that allows you to find experts by condition and filter by location, you have the opportunity to quickly find and connect with the person best suited to treat you.
3. Be Your Own Best Advocate
You are the person who knows your body best, and that’s why it is important for you to know all of your treatment options and feel empowered to discuss with your doctor.
Many studies have shown that Black Americans, particularly Black women, are more likely to experience negative health outcomes. Which is why it’s more important than ever to be informed about your options and feel empowered to advocate for receiving the best care for you.
This isn’t an easy task. It’s hard to even determine what questions to ask or which treatment options are out there for your condition. To get the treatment that’s right for you, it’s imperative that you do your own research and come to your appointments prepared with informed questions and up-to-date information.
Taking advantage of the plethora of objective healthcare information online and using tools, such as symptom checkers, allow you to better understand what you’re experiencing and the variety of treatment options available.
Everyone deserves the best possible chances at the best health outcomes. The information, doctors, and resources that can change the course of your care are out there, you just have to know where to look. By taking control of your patient journey and advocating for yourself, you can be sure you’re getting the best care and increasing your quality of life.