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When You Want A Second Opinion From A Particular Specialist

Sources For Locating A Doctor For A Second Opinion

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The sources listed below can assist with locating, verifying information about, comparing, and selecting a doctor for a second opinion. Instead of searching for a particular doctor, also consider contacting a respected medical institution. Most of them provide second opinions. There are also independent services that provide information about available treatments and a suggestion for your particular situation. For infomation about them, see Medical Research Service.

Primary Care Physician

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

Health Professionals

Ask additional doctors, nurses or other healthcare professionals for the names of doctors who specialize in your condition or treatment. They can often provide valuable "inside" information. They may also be able to tell you about doctors to avoid.


If there is a prestigious or large teaching hospital in your region call their doctor referral service. They will only provide a list of doctors who are affiliated with their hospital, but these types of facilities tend to attract the "cream of the crop." Look for the most prestigious doctor there.

If there isn't such a prestigious or large teaching hospital in your region contact the best such hospitals in the country. Look for the most prestigious doctor.

Medical School

If there is a medical school in your area: Explain 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.

If there is no medical school in your area: Find out which medical school is the best for your condition and call there. Ask for the names of their most prestigious doctors in your field.

Disease Specific Non-profit Organizations/Support Groups

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

Family and Friends

Ask family and friends for the names of doctors with whom they have had a successful relationship, particularly if they were diagnosed or treated for the same condition.

The Internet

There has never been such an abundance of easily accessible information about doctors as can be found on the internet. Unfortunately there is no one stop shopping. The sites described below can help you compare the qualifications of doctors for which you already have names, or help you locate doctors who meet your criteria. All services are free of charge except where noted. (It is advisable to use this information 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.)

American Medical Association: "Physician Select" offsite link Provides information on every licensed physician (more than 650,000) in the United States and its possessions. The site also contains "Group Select" which provides information on more than 19,000 group practices.

Health Grades: "Physician Report Cards" offsite link All doctors listed have been in practice for at least two years, are board-certified in their specialty, and have had no Medicare or state medical board sanctions within the past three years.

Web MD: "Find A Doctor" offsite link: Provides information on more than 500,000 doctors. This site also contains provider directories (health insurance affiliation) for more than 300 managed health care plans.

American Board of Medical Specialties: "Certified Doc" offsite link This site allows you to verify that a doctor is board certified in his or her specialty.

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