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Any websites to help find a great doctor?

Posted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 9:49 pm
by rupalb9
* I am not seeking medical advice.*
One generally asks friends and family to recommend a medical provider. Sometimes a primary care physician can be relied upon to recommend a specialist. I have been interested in finding an excellent urologist in the Bay Area. I feel uncomfortable posting about it on my local Nextdoor.
Any ideas about how to conduct this kind of a search?
---
If you have a urologist to recommend in the Bay Area, please pm me.

Thank you,
Rupert

Re: Any websites to help find a great doctor?

Posted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:21 pm
by GUtiger
Generally the first thing I would look at is whether the problem is a general urology issue or a more specialized issue. For example, BPH is general, a complex renal mass in a person with only 1 kidney would be more specialized.

If you think your issue is general then likely any urologist would probably do. If it is very specialized then looking at Stanford or UCSF probably makes the most sense.

As far as finding one that is "good," generally the best judgment comes from another urologist! Otherwise if you're in the 50+ age group chances are very high you have a friend or two who sees a urologist and could give you a recommendation.

Re: Any websites to help find a great doctor?

Posted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:37 pm
by b4nash
This site from CMS will be increasingly useful to compare providers (based on performance scores from quality reporting).

https://www.medicare.gov/physiciancompare/

Re: Any websites to help find a great doctor?

Posted: Thu Nov 30, 2017 5:47 am
by mouses
There used to be a really useful site called ratemds.com You could get a list of any type of doctor in your area, sort by patient ratings, see patient reviews, etc. Then it was sold to an entity that ruined the interface and now it is worthless. What they were thinking to do that, I have no idea.

Re: Any websites to help find a great doctor?

Posted: Thu Nov 30, 2017 6:04 am
by Swansea
Consumers Checkbook is a subscription service that provides ratings of docs by speciality (among many other occupations they rate). The specialists are rated by other docs. SF is an area that they cover.

Re: Any websites to help find a great doctor?

Posted: Thu Nov 30, 2017 6:18 am
by mmcmonster
mouses wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 5:47 am
There used to be a really useful site called ratemds.com You could get a list of any type of doctor in your area, sort by patient ratings, see patient reviews, etc. Then it was sold to an entity that ruined the interface and now it is worthless. What they were thinking to do that, I have no idea.
As a physician, I've seen all the rating websites be gamed by the physicians or their institutions. I really wouldn't trust them.

Word of mouth is always good (but problematic if you don't want people to know you are seeing a particular specialist). When you see your general medical doctor, ask him and also ask other staff in his office. Make sure you get more than one name. It's not like you live in a small town with one urologist!

University faculty member who is about 5-15 years out of training (age:40-55) is generally the sweet spot. Soon enough out of training that they are still up to date. Old enough to have experience of difficult patients. In a large academic center so that they have good QA to keep them on their toes.

Best of luck.

Re: Any websites to help find a great doctor?

Posted: Thu Nov 30, 2017 7:07 am
by mouses
mmcmonster wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 6:18 am

As a physician, I've seen all the rating websites be gamed by the physicians or their institutions. I really wouldn't trust them.
I think they have to be viewed with caution. I pay more attention to the negative reviews than the positive ones. I still find them useful.

Re: Any websites to help find a great doctor?

Posted: Thu Nov 30, 2017 7:45 am
by carolinaman
I have struggled in recent years to find good specialists. For many years my primary would recommend specialists whom he knew were very good. Then he retired and I do not have confidence that my current primary will provide really good specialists. Most doctors in our major metro area belong to one of a few very large practices and always recommend doctors from their own practices or perhaps friends.

I agree website ratings are next to useless, including Angieslist. We have a local magazine that lists the top doctors by area of practice each year, based upon voting of other doctors. This list tends to be skewed toward the larger practices because they have more doctors to vote but I have found some good doctors from it and the few who make the list in each category are generally considered very good. I always look at the doctors education, years of experience and whether they have any complaints before deciding on one. I have a friend who is a retired nurse and she also knows some good doctors. Generally, I do not put much stock in referrals from friends.

Re: Any websites to help find a great doctor?

Posted: Thu Nov 30, 2017 2:02 pm
by runner3081
If you have an academic institution nearby, check them out.

Re: Any websites to help find a great doctor?

Posted: Thu Nov 30, 2017 4:27 pm
by rupalb9
* From OP *

I have been listening to podcasts of a urology radio show hosted by Dr. Aaron Katz of NYU Winthrop (Katz's Corner) on Sunday mornings at 7AM Eastern. It has been very useful in terms of learning about how his group handles different urological issues. I have come to appreciate the personalities and skills of various urologists that he hosts on his program. If I were in the NYC area, I would not hesitate to go see someone from his practice.
I also like Patient, a general-purpose health site from the UK that also has patient forums.

I am interested in finding data on outcomes of surgical procedures for BPH by different urologists near me. There probably are quite a few who would fit my requirements but I have not yet figured out how to find them.

Re: Any websites to help find a great doctor?

Posted: Thu Nov 30, 2017 4:40 pm
by testing321
I think the secret to getting good referrals is getting a good PCP. Mine is very good at this. Of course, then, the next question is how to find a good PCP.

Re: Any websites to help find a great doctor?

Posted: Thu Nov 30, 2017 4:40 pm
by Toons
This website might be of assistance
"Best Urologists"
https://www.ratemds.com/best-doctors/?c ... =urologist



:happy

Re: Any websites to help find a great doctor?

Posted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 7:45 pm
by Sandi_k
I've used

http://www.abms.org/verify-certification/

in the past, especially when dealing with something complicated. I want to make sure any specialist we use is Board-certified. Not all of them are.

Re: Any websites to help find a great doctor?

Posted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 7:56 pm
by Marylander1
Swansea wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 6:04 am
Consumers Checkbook is a subscription service that provides ratings of docs by speciality (among many other occupations they rate). The specialists are rated by other docs. SF is an area that they cover.
I concur. I saw a few hours ago that the latest edition includes ratings of medical specialists in my area. If SF and DC are on the same schedule, your timing couldn't be better. I looked up a few docs I know, and the list seems an effective way to find exceptional ones.

http://checkbook.org

-Marylander1

Re: Any websites to help find a great doctor?

Posted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 8:22 pm
by dm200
mmcmonster wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 6:18 am
mouses wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 5:47 am
There used to be a really useful site called ratemds.com You could get a list of any type of doctor in your area, sort by patient ratings, see patient reviews, etc. Then it was sold to an entity that ruined the interface and now it is worthless. What they were thinking to do that, I have no idea.
As a physician, I've seen all the rating websites be gamed by the physicians or their institutions. I really wouldn't trust them.
Word of mouth is always good (but problematic if you don't want people to know you are seeing a particular specialist). When you see your general medical doctor, ask him and also ask other staff in his office. Make sure you get more than one name. It's not like you live in a small town with one urologist!
University faculty member who is about 5-15 years out of training (age:40-55) is generally the sweet spot. Soon enough out of training that they are still up to date. Old enough to have experience of difficult patients. In a large academic center so that they have good QA to keep them on their toes.
Best of luck.
I speak as a patient (try to be well informed) -

1. When I look at patient ratings in places like Consumer Checkbook - I have seen several highly rated physicians (by patients) that I did not think much of at all. It seems to me that patients like physicians that tell them what they want to hear - rather than "the truth".

2. A few years ago, I found a Primary care physician and Endocrinologist (same person - she did both) through a hospital referral hotline. The hospital line could tell what insurance each physician accepts

3. I place great credibility in recommendations from nurses

4. My experience is that primary care physicians often have no clue about "quality" of specialists when doing referrals.

5. Of course, many times the "best" ones have long waits for appointments - sometimes an issue and sometimes not.

One thing that information from individuals you know can be helpful with is whether your and the specialists communication and demeanor are compatible. or, maybe you do not care.

Re: Any websites to help find a great doctor?

Posted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 8:38 pm
by ENT Doc
The websites mentioned can be gamed, are gamed, and aren't accurate. Do we really trust our government to run a good website for something like this? If you're going to go to a surgeon you want a high quality surgeon, ideally one who is likeable as well. I find nurses can assess the latter part better than the former. The best way to assess both is to ask someone who has worked with them seeing patients and in cases. The best person to assess this is a senior resident in my opinion. But this is nearly impossible for someone not at a given academic institution to have access to, plus it leaves out a host of very good doctors at non-academic practices. To answer the specific question posted, there is no website that captures what you are looking for very well.

Re: Any websites to help find a great doctor?

Posted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 8:44 pm
by dm200
Over the years, in many different situations and health insurance, I have encountered 2 or 3 Physicians who I regarded as complete "quacks".

I have much greater concern/priority in eliminating the chance of getting a "quack" than getting the best physician for my particular needs. My opinion, as a Kaiser patient about half of the last 40 years or so - is that Kaiser screens out the "quacks".

Re: Any websites to help find a great doctor?

Posted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 9:06 pm
by White Coat Investor
No.

Sorry.

Why not go see one, if you don't like her, go see a different one? The likelihood of you not getting a good one within the first couple of tries is pretty darn low. There just aren't that many bad docs out there. It's not like you're trying to find a good financial advisor at NML.

If you really want to get hard core about your search, ask the first urologist for the three urologists he'd go see besides himself. Then go to those three and ask them the same question. Then go to the one who gets named most often.

Re: Any websites to help find a great doctor?

Posted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 11:31 pm
by mav12
You may not find the perfect one nearby, but there is always a second opinion online. https://draxe.com/top-50-functional-int ... l-doctors/
Also, use The Institute for Functional Medicine https://www.ifm.org/find-a-practitioner/

Pubmed is my friend and /MEDLINE, most big libraries have access to full text articles and you don't have to pay. When you find some useful advise please post so others can benefit.

Re: Any websites to help find a great doctor?

Posted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 10:02 am
by 3feetpete
I don't know how to find a good urologist but the best way to select an orthopedic surgeon is to get to know a physical therapist because they see the results of all the surgeons in their area. I used healthgrades to select an orthopedic surgeon recently and am happy with my choice. Maybe I got lucky but on their website you actually get to read reviews including negative reviews. During post surgery rehab my physical therapist told me he was one of only three doctors in the area she would go to for a knee and the only doctor for a hip. She had different recommendations for shoulder. When I relayed a story about someone who had a completely botched hip replacement. She knew who the doctor was without me telling her.

Re: Any websites to help find a great doctor?

Posted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 10:25 am
by dm200
One of the challenges in finding "a great doctor" is that different people and organizations often cannot agree on who are "great".

For example, I have been and am very happy with my Primary Care Physician (7 years) - Internal Medicine. However, I personally know several folks who have switched away from her - concluding that she does not know what she is doing or just dislike her. An Internet search shows her getting terrible patient reviews. My dermatologist, though, told me that she is also his Primary Care Physician and he regards her as very competent.

Re: Any websites to help find a great doctor?

Posted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 11:15 am
by dm200
Why not go see one, if you don't like her, go see a different one? The likelihood of you not getting a good one within the first couple of tries is pretty darn low
That is "depressing" :(

With the kind(s) of things urologists do (and have done to me) - I would not want a "bad experience" with the first one. :?

Re: Any websites to help find a great doctor?

Posted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 11:58 am
by Marylander1
dm200 wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2017 11:15 am
Why not go see one, if you don't like her, go see a different one? The likelihood of you not getting a good one within the first couple of tries is pretty darn low
That is "depressing" :(

With the kind(s) of things urologists do (and have done to me) - I would not want a "bad experience" with the first one. :?
Agreed! I had persistent marginal quality medical care from senior doctors at a premier medical facility that nearly resulted in loss of an important part of my body more than once. Eventually, through a sub rosa referral, I found an excellent specialist who made major progress identifying the root cause in just one visit. Compared to my prior docs, the man is an absolute genius.

This week I noticed he is ranked #1 in his speciality for the DC area at http://checkbook.org

Choosing random practitioners can be downright dangerous if your condition is unusual or complex.

-Marylander1

Re: Any websites to help find a great doctor?

Posted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 12:10 pm
by dm200
This week I noticed he is ranked #1 in his specialty for the DC area at http://checkbook.org


I just received my printed copy of Washington DC area checkbook. These ratings are by "peers" (other physicians) - so I place greater weight on them than on patients ratings. One of my previous Endocrinologists is there, as is my current Dermatologist. So is my wife's previous Primary care physician.

Re: Any websites to help find a great doctor?

Posted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 5:49 pm
by james865
Physician commenting.

I would not trust any ratings website. I have seen terrible physicians get "best doctor" awards because they paid the fee to get the title. They are *all* fake with no criteria to note what is good. Example: I got a terrible review last week because I charged a patient a co-pay (for those interested, the co-pay is a contractural obligation with the insurance company that I collect *for* the insurance company).

How would I go about finding a doctor if I were in your situation? First, I would make sure you're actually seeing a physician--one that went to medical school. There are all kinds of faux-doctors out there.

Second, I would make sure they actually are board-certified in their respective fields. Again, there are a bunch of faux-specialists advertising that they are a particular specialist when they are not. ABMS website cited above is good.

Thirdly, I would get at least one reference, basically to ensure they're a normal person. However, you're not out much time if you go and find out yourself.

Fourth, if you have a trusted primary care physician, they may be a good referral source.

In short: Any board-certified urologist that went to medical school and completed an accredited urology residency will be able to help you. If you need a referral to a different urologist because of a very specialized problem there's no better person to get it from than your original urologist. All the urologists in your area will know the strengths and weaknesses of their colleagues.

Re: Any websites to help find a great doctor?

Posted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 5:52 pm
by james865
dm200 wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2017 12:10 pm
This week I noticed he is ranked #1 in his specialty for the DC area at http://checkbook.org


I just received my printed copy of Washington DC area checkbook. These ratings are by "peers" (other physicians) - so I place greater weight on them than on patients ratings. One of my previous Endocrinologists is there, as is my current Dermatologist. So is my wife's previous Primary care physician.
If only that were so. There's so much corruption in the "peer" ratings. Usually you just have to be nominated (sometimes by yourself) and then pay to fee to be listed. I'm not familiar with "checkbook" but this is how many of these operate.

Re: Any websites to help find a great doctor?

Posted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 5:58 pm
by dm200
james865 wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2017 5:52 pm
dm200 wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2017 12:10 pm
This week I noticed he is ranked #1 in his specialty for the DC area at http://checkbook.org

I just received my printed copy of Washington DC area checkbook. These ratings are by "peers" (other physicians) - so I place greater weight on them than on patients ratings. One of my previous Endocrinologists is there, as is my current Dermatologist. So is my wife's previous Primary care physician.
If only that were so. There's so much corruption in the "peer" ratings. Usually you just have to be nominated (sometimes by yourself) and then pay to fee to be listed. I'm not familiar with "checkbook" but this is how many of these operate.
No - Consumer Checkbook does not do this by fees, etc. [that is their claim]

They claim to survey other Physicians and list the ones mentioned so many times. I do not believe it is rigged -- BUT my question is how worthwhile are the survey results of other physicians - assuming no bias in the surveying publication's methods. I have looked at these over many years. I do not believe or trust the patient ratings, but the Physician ratings of Physicians I have seen generally match my (as a patient) experience.

Re: Any websites to help find a great doctor?

Posted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 6:10 pm
by cutterinnj
rupalb9 wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 9:49 pm
* I am not seeking medical advice.*
One generally asks friends and family to recommend a medical provider. Sometimes a primary care physician can be relied upon to recommend a specialist. I have been interested in finding an excellent urologist in the Bay Area. I feel uncomfortable posting about it on my local Nextdoor.
Any ideas about how to conduct this kind of a search?
---
If you have a urologist to recommend in the Bay Area, please pm me.

Thank you,
Rupert

I'm a urologist, but not in the Bay Area.

Urologists are probably the rarest/most underserved specialist, so you may be somewhat restricted on who you can see (just as there aren't that many of us out there.)

That being said, there are a lot of great ones out there, depending on what issue you are having. For example, there are a lot of wonderful new treatments for enlarged prostate. I strongly recommend investigating various options before even going to see a urologist.

Re: Any websites to help find a great doctor?

Posted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 6:14 pm
by cutterinnj
Toons wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 4:40 pm
This website might be of assistance
"Best Urologists"
https://www.ratemds.com/best-doctors/?c ... =urologist



:happy
That website is gamed just as hard as pretty much all the others.
Very hard to get objective data online unfortunately.

Re: Any websites to help find a great doctor?

Posted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 6:30 pm
by fsrph
mmcmonster wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 6:18 am
mouses wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 5:47 am
There used to be a really useful site called ratemds.com You could get a list of any type of doctor in your area, sort by patient ratings, see patient reviews, etc. Then it was sold to an entity that ruined the interface and now it is worthless. What they were thinking to do that, I have no idea.
As a physician, I've seen all the rating websites be gamed by the physicians or their institutions. I really wouldn't trust them.

Word of mouth is always good (but problematic if you don't want people to know you are seeing a particular specialist). When you see your general medical doctor, ask him and also ask other staff in his office. Make sure you get more than one name. It's not like you live in a small town with one urologist!

University faculty member who is about 5-15 years out of training (age:40-55) is generally the sweet spot. Soon enough out of training that they are still up to date. Old enough to have experience of difficult patients. In a large academic center so that they have good QA to keep them on their toes.

Best of luck.
This is excellent advice. I wouldn't put much credibility in online websites. Perhaps you know people who work in hospitals. Ask several of them for recommendations and devolop a consensus. In the Bay area I'd strongly consider university based urologists with responsibilities in teaching and the clinical setting. Good luck.

Francis

Re: Any websites to help find a great doctor?

Posted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 6:52 pm
by HIinvestor
I have been in a quandary for several years because my internist is aging (68) and I want someone who will be with me for some years AND work well with my lung doc. (My allergist just retired after referring me to the lung doc, due to her personal medical issues.) Fortunately, I was able to ask my lung doc for a referral and he recommended and referred me to HIS internist who is practicing in the same medical center as him and is “sharp” and in her 40s. Though her practice is full, since the pulmo referred me, she accepted me as a new patient.

I think there are great benefits in getting a referral from an MD who is treating you that you like, especially if they use the same medical records system. I’m looking forward to meeting this new MD in January, when I have my my initial visit.

Re: Any websites to help find a great doctor?

Posted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 7:22 pm
by dm200
HIinvestor wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2017 6:52 pm
I have been in a quandary for several years because my internist is aging (68) and I want someone who will be with me for some years AND work well with my lung doc. (My allergist just retired after referring me to the lung doc, due to her personal medical issues.) Fortunately, I was able to ask my lung doc for a referral and he recommended and referred me to HIS internist who is practicing in the same medical center as him and is “sharp” and in her 40s. Though her practice is full, since the pulmo referred me, she accepted me as a new patient.
I think there are great benefits in getting a referral from an MD who is treating you that you like, especially if they use the same medical records system. I’m looking forward to meeting this new MD in January, when I have my my initial visit.
Over the years, I have had several referrals/suggestions like this (from one Physician I was seeing for another type/specialty that I needed) that were not good at all.

Re: Any websites to help find a great doctor?

Posted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 7:31 pm
by dm200
I picked my current (for 7 years) Primary Care Physician (Internal Medicine, Kaiser) from the online choices. There were photos of each Physician, where they went to Medical School, degree (MD or DO), where they had followon training, what languages (other than English) they might speak and a little blurb about themselves. I have been very happy with her for the last 7 years and I regard her as very competent as well as we communicate and get along very well.

Two years later, my wife was able to join Kaiser and I believed my wife would not like my doctor at all. So, I did the online search and recommended a Doctor to my wife and my wife (after reviewing the online information) chose her (MD, Family Medicine) and has been very happy for the last 5 years.

Re: Any websites to help find a great doctor?

Posted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 7:46 pm
by afan
In the Bay Area you have two of the best medical centers in the country UCSF and Stanford. I don't know how to find the best urologists at those places, but I would go to one of those centers.

Best Doctors does systematically what one would do informally if asking for suggestions: They poll a large number of physicians and ask who they think are the best around in their field or closely related fields. To that extent it tells you what you want to know, sort of. But I have seen lots of their rankings exclude people who I think are a lot better than the ones listed. Because of its methods it automatically favors people who work in large groups, so that many docs know them. People in big medical centers naturally have an edge.

Unfortunately, the people who really know how good someone is, those who work with them everyday, will not necessarily want to be quoted in offering their opinion, particularly if it is negative.

It can be nearly impossible to interpret outcome statistics. The results depend on the complexity and difficulty of the cases a surgeon might do. There are not any good ways to standardize the evaluation of difficulty. Someone with a great reputation might get a lot of difficult cases and the overall results might be worse than those of someone who is limited to easy cases. But there is no reliable way to adjust for this.

Re: Any websites to help find a great doctor?

Posted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 3:14 pm
by obgraham
Lots of advice here, mostly aimed at finding the right doc by "word of mouth".

The thing I disagree with is the assumption that the right doctor is one working in a major medical center or academic center.

It really depends on the location, and on the condition being treated. Yes, when there is an unusual or multi-system situation, you're likely better off putting up with the issues that large centers present. But when the issues are routine and general, in my opinion the best docs will be out in community practice. And in small to medium communities there are plenty of empathetic and skilled docs. (Heck, just because I was one of them for 35 years, doesn't make me biased!!)

Re: Any websites to help find a great doctor?

Posted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 3:41 pm
by dm200
But when the issues are routine and general, in my opinion the best docs will be out in community practice
I suspect that if I brought up this issue today, the Physician might order thousands of dollars of tests, scans, neurology consults, etc. About 35 years ago, my Primary Care Physician was reviewing my annual physical - and I mentioned that I had some slight degree of intermittent numbness in my left leg. We were seated facing each other and she got this very serious look on her face. "Oh", she said, "that is a well known condition that only affects men. It is 100% curable." She continued, in an even more serious way, as she reached over and touched the side of my upper left thigh, "Take your wallet out of your hip pocket!"

Re: Any websites to help find a great doctor?

Posted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 8:05 pm
by thatwhichisgood
A loved one about 5 years ago ask me to research a specialist for a second opinion and as a consulting doctor to work with her local Oncologist. Our son, who is a phd neuroscientist said whenever you need a knowledgeable doctor look for one who is both MD with a PHD in Medicine . I did!

I found one in Chicago (Doctor/Researcher) that was knowledgeable in that type of cancer. My other loved one was able to go to Chicago for the consult. It worked out brilliantly ...the consult piece too.

As I recall... I ended up using https://scholar.google.com. I searched on the specific type of breast cancer and one or more studies. Then I look at authors and then research the names. Once I had a name I could find out if there was patient access. Of course I goggled names and looked for recommendations too. So basically I backed into the information she wanted. whew. http://obg.bsd.uchicago.edu/FacultyRese ... yellab.htm

:sharebeer We are still very happy that I had the time and energy...and much more importantly that she is still with us to celebrate. :happy

It is such a blessing when we have the ability to access great medical care. I wish you all the best.