How do you find a good doctor, and what kind of questions should patients ask?

Are some sources of information better than others?

In another stellar piece, Pauline Chen asks leaders in the field how they would find a primary care doctor or specialist.

Advice included obtaining guidance with the help of a primary care physician, or failing that, “identifying high quality medical groups or hospitals that ‘carefully monitor the quality of the clinicians affiliated with them’ and that provide ‘decision support, continuous quality improvement and continuing education to keep their clinicians functioning well.'”

Arming yourself with the right questions is useful as well, such as asking how many of a specific procedure a surgeon has performed, or if they have a special interest in laparoscopic, or minimally invasive, surgery.

Discussing these more objective measures is especially critical, since bedside manner alone may not be enough. Dr. Chen cites a physician that concurs, saying that “a caring attitude can mask poor quality medicine.”

It’s well worth reading the whole piece, and investigating the websites that the article recommends.