Ask Questions to Find
the Right Doctor
by Pat Whitney
(as printed in The AZ Republic)
Searching for a quality doctor from long lists of faceless physicians in a
metropolitan area the size of Phoenix can be a daunting challenge, especially
when you're new in town.
Toss out the Ouija board. A little research in the right places can help. Personal
referrals from family, friends and co-workers are good places to start. Medical societies, local hospitals
and referral services can also offer advice. But state licensing boards often give a truer picture of
a doctor's track record. Information is key. The Directory of Medical Specialists
at the local library contains up-to-date professional and biographical information about 400,000 physicians.
Two primary sources that offer licensing backgrounds and disciplinary information about
doctors and other health-care practitioners are:
1) The Arizona Medical Board, formerly the Arizona Board of Medical Examiners (BOMEX), on line at
Call (480)551-2700 or 1-877-255-2212.
2) Doc-Finder", operating in Arizona since 1996,
is the only combined online physician database in the nation with a direct source of data from the state
government licensing boards that is free to the public. Information at
www.docboard.org offers details about medical malpractice,
hospital discipline and criminal convictions.
If you are a member of a managed care system, you may have to work from a preferred list of doctors.
You may prefer someone with additional training in an area that relates to a health problem.
Don't forget to make sure your top choices are taking new patients.
Next, call for personal interviews (ask if there is a charge). Find out which doctor more closely matches
your philosophy on healing. Is his or her approach more conservative with by-the-book treatment?
Or, is the doctor more proactive, promoting innovative therapies?
The latter type is often more receptive to a team approach with patient input.