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How To Locate A Doctor For A Second Opinion

Sources To Help Locate A Specialist For A Second Opinion

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Primary Care Doctor

Ask your doctor for the names of board certified specialists experienced with your diagnosis and treatment. Ask why he or she recommends a particular doctor, and if he or she would refer one of her own family members to the individual for a second opinion.

Note: It may be best not to see partners or colleagues within the same practice. Doctors are often reluctant to "second guess" their colleagues and may adhere to the same treatment philosophy.

Professional Groups

If you are looking for a particular type of doctor, professional groups provide a helpful place to start. For example:

  • American Board of Medical Specialties Certified Doc:  allows you to search by a specialty. The site requires free registration requesting your name address and e-mail address.
  • American Medical Association 800-621.8335 click on Doctor Finder
  • For Oncologists: American Society of Clinical Oncologists offsite link

Health Professionals

Ask doctors, nurses or other healthcare professionals for the names of doctors who fit your criteria. They can often provide valuable "inside" information about the doctors as well. They may also be able to tell you which doctors to avoid.

Local Prestigious Hospitals or Large Teaching Hospitals in your Area

If such a hospital is nearby: Stop by and ask a nurse in the Emergency Room or in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) or a hospitalist (a doctor who only works in a hospital) who she would use, and why. They should have a realistic fix on the quality of the doctors at that hospital.
If the hospital is not nearby: Call their doctor referral service. You will only receive a list of doctors who are affiliated with their hospital, but these types of facilities tend to attract the cream of the crop.

Local Medical School

Contact the medical school located closest to you. Explain that you are looking for a second opinion, the type of doctor that you are looking for and ask for recommendations.

Some instructors actually maintain their own medical practices and tend to be informed on the latest recommendations, procedures and treatments.

Local Disease Specific Non-profit Organizations/Support Groups

Both may be able to provide invaluable information about doctors because they come to the table with an insight with respect to your diagnosis and medical needs.

Family and Friends

Consider asking family and friends whose opinions you trust for the names of doctors who are experts in the area. Keep in mind that even though friends or family members recommend a doctor, we recommend that you do your own research about the doctor.

The Internet

There are many easily accessible sites about doctors on the internet. Unfortunately, there is no one-stop shopping. You can use the sites to create a list of potential doctors. These sites can help you compare the qualifications of doctors for which you already have names. Most services are free of charge. For example, Health offsite link(It is advisable to use consumer ratings as a tool rather than a decision maker. If a doctor seems to fit your needs, ask him or her why s/he is rated a certain way.)

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