Below you’ll find resources that can assist you in avoiding medical attention from care practitioners with records of providing negligent or damaging care:
1. Find out if he or she is board certified.
A doctor who is a medical school graduate and has a license to practice can hold himself out as a cardiologist, a neurosurgeon, or any type of specialist he/she wants.
A board certified specialist is one who has successfully completed post-graduate residency training at a hospital, often affiliated with a medical school and passed an examination in his or her specialty. Medical specialty certification in the United States is a voluntary process. While medical licensure sets the minimum competency requirements to diagnose and treat patients, it is not specialty specific. Board certification demonstrates a physician’s expertise in a particular specialty and/or subspecialty of medical practice.
You can verify whether a physician is board certified by visiting the American Board of Medical Specialties website.
2. Research whether he or she has ever been sanctioned by the state licensing board.
Review the medical examining board directory for your state. The Connecticut Department of Public Health allows site visitors to look up a doctor’s credentials and find out if he or she has ever been sanctioned. Sanctions include a reprimand, placing a doctor on probation requiring continuing education, suspension, and revocation of a medical license.
3. Verify whether he or she has been sued for malpratice or misdiagnosis or negligence.
The Connecticut Judicial website offers general information about lawsuits including medical malpractice cases.
4. Investigate whether your doctor is well renowned in the medical field.
Doctor’s who have published medical field research can be identified by visiting PubMed.
5. Visit your doctor’s hospital webpage to gain a clearer understanding of their medical team.
Doctors who work under a hospital tend to refer their patients to other doctors within the hospital’s network. Depending on your medical history it may be worth spending a few minutes to read more about the medical research, and initiatives of their medical specialty teams.
6. Below are some sites that offer patient reviews which may be of some use:
Healthgrades gives you access to a comprehensive database of local hospitals and doctors who have been rated by other patients. What makes this tool so much more powerful than the average health directory is that it also allows users to easily find doctor’s who are the most experienced in treating a specific health condition or medical procedure.
ZocDoc allows people in select cities to not only access patient reviews, but also to schedule appointments with local doctors from their website or mobile app. You can search through their directory of doctors, practices and hospitals and see their real-time availability, accepted insurance providers, real-time availability and procedural related rankings.
Their service has yet to expand to Connecticut, but it is widely available across New York (where it was founded) and certain areas of New Jersey.
Most people associate Yelp with finding a new restaurant or local salon, but many don’t realize that you can search for medical professionals by specialty. Many practices have garnered reviews from local Yelp users over the years. While the quantity of reviews aren’t as expansive as on aforementioned health specific directories, you can still do a quick Yelp search to ensure that a practice you’ve identified doesn’t have any glaring red flags.
Whether you’re looking for a second opinion or specialty doctor for you or your loved ones, it’s always a great idea to take a couple of minutes to research the doctors in your area before deciding on which to use. While this may not be enough to keep you from ever receiving medical treatment that does not adhere to the medical community’s standards of care, this quick step can lessen your chances of being in a situation where you may need to take legal action against a health care provider.