Information You Need about Your Doctor's Background
"In order to be a good doctor a man must also have a good character." -W.H. Auden, English Poet Before your put your life in the hands of a stranger shouldn't you know a little bit about him or her?
Important Information You Should Know
When it comes to your health or the health of a loved one, it's important that everything about the chosen physician is taken into consideration, including any malpractice suits and whether he is board certified. Unfortunately, according to Rachel O. Reid, Doris Duke Clinical Research Fellow at the University of Pittsburgh's School of Medicine, "The physician characteristics available for patients to choose doctors don't actually predict which ones will deliver high-quality care." She added, "You can't judge a book by its cover." Because it's hard to judge a physician by his or her name or specialty, many patients are conducting background checks on their physicians that include a few items that some might deem inappropriate.
How Personal Should You Get?
Take a professional approach to discovering information about your physician's background. Doctors take an oath to save lives, not harm them, and most all of them take that oath very seriously. No one should have to worry if their doctor is a scientologist that he might not believe in depression, or if she is a Mormon that she will automatically believe in letting God take over rather than implement modern medicine. But when it comes to your health and the health of your family, if you are not comfortable with your doctor's personal choices you always have the option to change doctors, or at least get a second opinion.
How to Conduct a Background Check
Let's face it, physicians are human and we all make mistakes. But when it comes to your health you want to know your physician is as honest as the day is long, that he takes his position seriously and, most importantly, that he knows what he's doing. No one wants a physician with a track record of mistakes. If you are concerned that your physician may have a bad track record, check online with your state government. While each state is listed differently and each covers different aspects of this information, all will require the physician's first and last name and their occupation. For instance, in Michigan the website will be, the Michigan Department of Community Health's License/Registration, but in Ohio it will be called the The State Medical Board of Ohio. Other sites that can offer information regarding physician malpractice, as well as license information and certifications, include the following:
Currently, New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island are in the process of making doctors' malpractice records public. When that happens, other states will jump on the bandwagon. The end result will help patients to find the quality doctors they deserve, and physicians with a series of malpractice suits will also get what they deserve, which in this case will be fewer patients.