Health & Wellness

How to Find a Good Doctor

Finding and researching doctors is a lot easier than it used to be. Today, there are variety of websites you can turn to that provide databases of U.S. doctors, their professional medical histories, and ratings and reviews from past patients on several criteria. Here are some good sites to help you get started, along with a few additional tips that can help you find the right doctors.

Searching Tips

To help you locate some good doctors in your area, a good first step is to get referrals from trusted friends, along with any doctors, nurses or other healthcare professionals you know.

You also need to check your insurance provider. Call your insurer for a list of approved doctors or ask whether the doctor you’re considering is in-network.

If you are enrolled in original Medicare, you can use the care compare tool at (click on “Doctors & Clinicians.”) This will let you find doctors by name, medical specialty or by geographic location that accept original Medicare. If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, call or visit the plan website to get a list of approved candidates.

Once you find a few doctors, you need to call their office to verify that they still accept your insurance, and if they are accepting new patients.

You should also consider hospital affiliation. Your choice of doctor can determine which hospital you go to, if needed, so find out where the doctor has admitting privileges. Then use some hospital ratings services like (click on “Hospitals”) to see how it compares with other hospitals in the area. 

Researching Doctors

After you find a few doctors you’re interested in, there are various websites you can consult, to help you evaluate them. For example, the Federation of State Medical Boards offers a tool at that will let you find out doctor’s board certifications, education, states with active licenses, and whether or not a physician has been disciplined by a state medical board.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS Data) is also a good source for researching doctors. For example, it will help you find out how many times a doctor did a particular procedure and what they charge for it – go to and click on “Medicare Physician & Other Practitioner Look-up Tool.” And to learn about the financial relationship that doctors have with drug and medical device companies, visit

Some other good sites for finding and researching healthcare professionals include and             

Both sites provide substantial doctor’s information on education and training, hospital affiliations, board certification, awards and recognitions, professional misconduct, disciplinary action, office locations and accepted insurance plans.

They also offer 5-star ratings scales from past patients on issues such as communication and listening skills, wait time, time spent with the patient, office friendliness and more. But be aware that while physician rating websites can be helpful, they can also be misleading and unreliable.

Jim Miller publishes the Savvy Senior, a nationally syndicated column that offers advice for Boomers and Seniors.

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