These days, most Americans spend about an hour choosing a doctor, less time than we spend choosing a car or a refrigerator.
Dr. Archelle Georgiou, Physician and Strategic advisor to HealthGrades.com, says that most times, people confuse convenience with quality. When looking for a doctor, many people just wonder if he or she will be covered by their insurance or if the doctor's office is close to home or work.
There are, however, more important things to consider when making this critical choice. Dr. Georgiou introduces the five P’s of finding a doctor: Professional, practice, procedure, performance, and personal. Using free online networks, like healthgrades.com, to research your doctors or hospitals will help you make an informed decision for you and your family.
But, why is it so important to research your doctor or hospital?
According to Dr. Georgiou, in Chicago, for example, there are 18 hospitals within a few miles of each other and the mortality rate for a heart attack ranges between 2% and 24%. Researching the hospitals can help you know which you’d like to be taken to in an emergency.
You need to know a doctor's board certifications, specialties, how many procedures he or she has performed and what the results were. You have a right to all of this information, and it's readily available if you know how and where to find it.
A new car is a big purchase that does require some digging, but you only have one body for life...and picking a doctor is one of the most important decisions you'll make. Do your homework, test drive a few, so to speak, and you'll have the peace of mind that comes with knowing you've made an informed choice.