How do you (or did you) find a new doctor?

My primary care doctor is getting impossible to see, I think she’s gearing up for retirement too, so it’s best to bite the bullet and find a new doc.

I doc shopped for my gyno and my dermatologist several years back. It was incredibly annoying and time consuming but I’m very pleased with both. My gyno is boarded in internal medicine and has been gracious enough to do my physical although this year I need more advanced bloodwork and he (gently but firmly) pushed me to find another PCP during my last visit.

How can I effectively choose a new doc without trying a bunch out, each time I need to see someone?

Conditions/Positives: I live in the city very close to lots of hospitals and I have excellent insurance. I’d like someone boarded in internal medicine. I’d like a male doc.

Negatives: I am in my mid 20’s and none of my friends or colleagues go to the doctor. If the girls go to a gyno, it’s because I recommended mine. Then there are some without health insurance. Older people in my “sphere” live in and visit physicians in particular suburbs they live in. Angie’s list has few reviews and the reviews that do exist are mostly for women.

It’s almost absurd that I can more easily find reviews of gastropubs than healthcare providers; I must be missing some key ingredient.

I found an eye doctor (not the same thing, I know) by looking at my insurance then comparing to yelp reviews. I really liked the guy.

If you have Angie’s List in your area, they do list patients’ reviews of doctors, as well as contractors and other types of businesses. If there are enough reviews to be useful, this is a lot more reliable than Yelp and similar review sites. It does cost to belong, but that ensures that the reviews are really from patients and not shills.

Both of my long-term PCP’s since I moved to San Francisco (the first one retired so I had to find another one) I was lucky enough to find through personal recommendations of people I trusted.

For my current general practitioner I asked around for recommendations, and called a name that came up a lot.

Back when I had began having kidney stone problems and had to go to the ER, the staff arranged to connect me with a certain urologist. My mother, a retired RN, knew this doctor and said “No! You are not going to him!” See, Mom had retired from a state home for the retarded, and she didn’t like him. He was competent, but rude, seeming to think he didn’t need to waste bedside manner on the residents. She made them set me up with someone else, and I’ve been very satisfied with that doctor.

I got my current g.p. by asking a colleague who seemed level-headed and is about my age who he saw and if he’d recommend him.

I had a tough time finding an obstetrician when I found out I was pregnant. I did the trial-and-error thing, saw doctors who were rude, dismissive, condescending.

What helped me was zeroing in on a hospital I wanted to deliver at, then choosing a doctor who had admitting privileges there. I found there was more patient review information online pertaining to hospitals than to individual doctors.

What also helped was getting more creative in my googling of doctors. At first I stuck to Yelp, which is sparse at best. (I’m sure you’re savvy enough to realize this too, but - I take a series of enthusiastic, rave reviews written by people who’ve only written… that one review… as a red flag as much as negative reviews.) Googling the doctor’s name along with the words “message board,” or the words “my doctor” can sometimes yield hits of people chatting other places about what doctors they recommend. For me, these websites were usually something like The Bump - a site dedicated to pregnancy. But actually, there’s a good chance people are talking about their gynecologists on that site. The message boards are wide-ranging, and they have location-specific categories.

This is what I really want to say, because I realize my obstetrician-finding experience has limited relevance to you: the way I found the pediatrician I’ll use for my kid once he’s born is via a recommendation from the obstetrician I eventually found, who I trust. I think if you don’t have friends who can recommend doctors, having a doctor you trust recommend another doctor is a really good solution.

Also, I agree it’s ridiculous that there aren’t better doctor-finding resources in this day and age.

We had a baby.

A very nice young doc came to talk to our childbirth class and we selected him as our daughter’s pediatrician. He’s certified in pediatrics and internal medicine. When we switched insurance to an HMO that required my wife and I have a primary care physicians, our daughter’s doc was accepting adult patients, so all three of us have been going to him for years now.

Find someone you know from work (or school or your book club or whatever) who has similar needs/wants in a doctor and ask them who they use. When people have a doctor or dentist they like they are thrilled to tell you all about them, I promise.

That’s exactly what I do. Look at my insurance, pick the closest specialist by preferred gender, look at online reviews. If they suck too much, go to the next-closest one.

I’ve gotten amazing doctors and meh doctors, but no one actively bad.

I recently switched doctors myself.
I wasn’t overly happy or un-happy with my last dr., but the clinic switched to an on-line communication system that drove me nuts which prompted the change.
I went to my insurance Co’s web site and used their ‘find a provider’ sub-site.
It allowed me to put in my zip code and a few criteria (general vs specialist, accepting new patients, etc.) I put in a zip code that’s between my home and work. Clicking on the Drs listed, it gave a short bio. I used their degree / certification as my selector. Well known institution and certified a reasonable # of yrs ago (not to recent nor long ago).
FYI; I tried calling a clinic and asking them to recommend a Dr., and was told they’re not allowed to.
I am VERY happy with the new Dr., but I don’t know what this clinics communication method/system is yet…

I usually just ask my parents who they have and if they like them.

I’m confused. I thought you were a child of doctors. A child of privelige, if you will?!? What happened?

Oh wow, this is great advice. Name + message boards + my doctor (and so forth).

I may ask my dermatologist during my next visit if he’d recommend anyone. Only problem is he’s from the other health system. So I can see him for office visits just fine but if he’s friends those from his same health system, most of them won’t have admitting privileges at the hospitals in my system.

I turn up at the local Medical Centre and say “I’d like to see a Doctor, please” and if they ask if I have a preference on gender or some such, I say no, because I don’t care.

Seems to have worked out okay so far, but then I only need to visit a Doctor about once every three years.

I went to my health insurance plan’s web page to see what doctors near me was accepting patients, and picked one nearby.

The key is that, unless it’s an emergency situation, you can always change if the doctor doesn’t work out for you.

I cross-referenced the list of in-network doctors according to my insurance company’s website with Angie’s list. If the doctor was listed as in-network and had a 4-star rating or higher at Angie’s List, then I called. The doctor who had an available appointment and was taking new patients won my business. It turned out to be an excellent choice; I adore my doctor.

Ask your gyn and/or a member of the staff who they see. Medical professionals generally know who is good and who is not.

I’ve found I’d rather see an NP than an MD. I feel more like an actual person and less like a checklist of symptoms.

I go to the most convenient hospital’s website and use their Find-A-Doc web page. Lets you filter by gender, age, hours, insurance, stuff like that.