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How many times have you felt under the weather, and your first instinct was to Google your symptoms? Well, while Google may give you some drastic suggestions, there are many ways for you to get an expert opinion from the comfort of your home.
Telehealth has led to numerous benefits for patients and doctors alike. For patients, they no longer have to go out and wait in long queues before having their queries answered. On the other hand, doctors gain access to more patients. Overall, telemedicine has made healthcare more accessible and affordable.
For patients, one aspect of ensuring their experience with telehealth is fruitful is to choose the right doctor. It’s important to know as much as possible about the doctor you’re considering before you actually book a consultation. A background check helps separate competent doctors from the incompetent ones, ensuring you get the best advice.
When you’re getting advice from a skilled online doctor, you won’t need to second-guess their recommendations. Additionally, these doctors are certified to prescribe medications as well, which you can purchase from legal online supplements and prescription services. Such services are licensed to provide you with medication for common ailments, as well as specialized issues.
So, how do you identify a competent doctor from a pool of incompetent ones? Here’s how you can do a background check:
Where to Start in Checking a Doctor’s Credentials
To begin your research on a doctor, you need to know their name and where they work or reside. The Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) has functions that allow you to look up a doctor’s education, certifications, active licenses, and any red flags you should look out for.
Every state provides a medical license, without which a doctor would not be allowed to practice. Additionally, doctors may also attain board certifications for fields they want to specialize in. Such credentials are usually provided by medical facilities that grant them privileges or employ them, but you should check board certifications, too.
Knowing a doctor’s medical school and residency also gives you an indication of their credentials and background. Lastly, knowing if there are any disciplinary or malpractice actions against a doctor may help you look into valid concerns.
The Doctor’s Age
At first thought, a doctor’s age may not seem necessary. However, it’s essential because a considerably older doctor, for instance, may leave or retire from the practice while you’re still getting treatment. Therefore, it’s better to look for a doctor that’s a bit closer in age if you have serious medical concerns, such as a chronic condition.
Apart from this, it’s also important to look for a doctor that’s experienced and has been practicing for a while. On the other hand, it’s also useful, sometimes, to have a younger one who knows about modern practices, research, and equipment in the area of concern.
Length of Practice
It’s essential to determine the duration of the period a doctor has practiced in a particular place. This duration can be determined on an online doctor listing site or the website of your states’ medical licensing board. If a doctor is around fifty years old but has only been practicing at the location for a couple of years, then this means their practice has been interrupted.
Knowing the reason for that interruption is vital since this could indicate something harmless as a move to another state or something serious such as losing their medical license because of negligence. Additionally, if a doctor is old, but has only gotten their license recently, then a bit of research into the doctor’s name can help you look in the right direction.
Any Research Published In the Medical Area
The doctor you’re consulting must have expertise in the area of concern. If a doctor is involved in any research, then that’s extremely important. While a lot of doctors aren’t involved in medical research, those affiliated with a university or academic medical center usually are.
Research indicates that the doctor is interested in learning about the area and how to treat or diagnose it. Additionally, it could also mean that the doctor is potentially considered an expert in the medical field.
On the other hand, it might also mean that medical or drug manufacturing companies may be paying them to make recommendations, making them prescriptions biased. When you’re looking into a doctor’s research, it’s a good idea to dig deeper and find out whether a drug manufacturer funded the study.
Affiliations With Hospitals
To admit and treat people in hospitals, doctors are required to apply for privileges. Even if you’re looking for an online doctor, it’s useful to know if the doctor has privileges to practice at a particular hospital. Many sites list down the different hospitals doctors are affiliated with.
The Doctor’s Attitudes and Personality
If you’re looking for a doctor you want to build a long-term relationship with, then their attitudes and personality should play a massive role in your decision. For long-term issues, especially, you need to get along with your doctor when you’re going to be consulting them regularly.
Hence, a doctor who’s arrogant or challenging to get along with won’t be as helpful as someone who’s more welcoming. To know more about a doctor’s attitude and personality, your first step would be to check reviews and see whether any patients have complained about behavioral issues.
On the other hand, since almost everyone is on social media these days, it’s also useful to check doctors‘ social media handles on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms to see what they’re sharing with the world.
Choosing the right online doctor is a tedious process that you shouldn’t take lightly. However, by performing an extensive background check on your options, you’re saving yourself from any unwelcome surprises in the future.
Have you ever consulted an online doctor? How did you perform research into the doctor? Let us know in the comments below.