Keep your doc if: She’s experienced in your particular problem
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When it comes to getting quality medical care, experience is the most important factor, says David Norris, CEO of MD Insider, a company that evaluates physicians based on their performance data. Whether you are managing a lifelong condition like diabetes or need a specific treatment like knee surgery, a doctor who specializes in that particular thing is worth their weight in gold, he says. And forget all those fancy plaques on the wall; Norris says their data found no correlation between attending a top-tier, expensive medical school and medical proficiency. “Ultimately it comes down to how many times they’ve done [something], whether it’s diagnosing or surgery or whatever,” he says. “The more they’ve done it, for the most part, the better they are at it.” Here are the secrets to finding the best doctors, according to other doctors.
Ditch your doc if: She has a lot of repeat customers
Ideally, doctors are there to help you get better. While there are some conditions that won’t and just need to be monitored, most of the time you can expect to see at least some improvement. “One of the biggest indicators a doctor isn’t a good one is the number of times a patient has to be readmitted or has to have the procedure or treatment repeated,” Norris says.
Keep your doc (even if he has terrible online reviews): As long as you like him
Google may be the first resource you turn to when looking for a good doctor but that may be the least reliable way to find one, Norris says. His company has analyzed hundreds of thousands of online reviews and matched them with the doctor’s actual performance data. Their conclusion? “We’ve found absolutely no correlation between patient reviews, like those found on sites like Yelp!, and medical proficiency,” he explains. “People who’ve had negative experiences are more likely to leave reviews and they’ll often complain about things that have no relevance to their medical care, like bathrooms or parking spaces.” So forget what everyone else online is saying—the only opinion that should matter is yours.