Finding a doctor can be a challenging process. Evaluating a physician's knowledge and competency, bedside manner, and how easy it is to get an appointment are especially difficult before you have seen the doctor. Finding a doctor who is in your Doctor Information insurance network adds a level of complexity to the process. People have traditionally found a doctor by using a referral from a friend, a phone book, an online directory, or a referral from another doctor. All of these methods suffer from drawbacks. Phone books and online directories will give you the name and the contact information for a doctor but they won't tell you anything about their competency, bedside manner, wait times, or any other subjective information.
Web sites advertising "top doctors" are equally unhelpful. Most often, these sites charge the physicians a fee to be listed and paying this fee is the only criterion that makes the listed physician a "top doctor." Furthermore, these sites typically Doctor Information forward a user's email address and other confidential information to the doctor when the user requests more information, meaning that the user is still receiving unsolicited communications months after having chosen another doctor. Referrals from friends are undoubtedly the best way to find the right doctor.
However, most friends will only be able to refer one or perhaps two doctors. These doctors may not be in your network or their offices may be too far from where you live or work. Most importantly, getting reviews and recommendations from a number of other patients will be more useful than getting just one referral. Asking for a referral from 10 friends at once would solve these shortcomings but are typically impractical.
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