Whether you are searching for a medical provider for yourself or a loved one, it is extremely important to take time to research the potential provider prior to receiving medical treatment from that person. The vast majority of people will see multiple medical providers throughout their lifetime and while many of these visits will be routine well-check exams or for the common cold, many of them will be for far more serious ailments. Researching your medical provider beforehand will ensure that he or she is qualified to handle these serious medical issues just as competently as the simpler ones.
When most patients think of “researching” a potential medical provider, they think of asking a friend, family member, or current physician for a recommendation. While this is certainly an important step in the process, and one I would recommend, it does not inform you of the potential provider’s disciplinary background, whether he has ever been deemed by the Colorado Board of Medical Examiners to be unfit to practice medicine, or if he has been the subject of previous litigation related to his practice of medicine. While not all this information may be available to the public, much of it is and can be found on the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies website: https://www.colorado.gov/dora. This site is very simple to navigate and will allow you to enter a provider’s first and last name to obtain any available public disciplinary information on file regarding the provider. More often than not, you will see no disciplinary action on file and can rest assured that your chosen provider is competent to treat you. However, with the minimal amount of time it will take you to perform the search, it is an important and valuable step in your research process.
In addition to the above, I would encourage you to meet with the medical provider in-person prior to signing on as his or her patient. It is important for you to feel that your provider knows you as a person, and not just a patient. It is equally important for you to actually like your provider and feel comfortable describing your medical concerns in detail with him or her. The good news is that there are more than enough medical providers to choose from and if you don’t click with one, you will have no trouble finding someone better suited for you.
Lastly, when dealing with a serious medical issue, always get a second opinion. Even if you have the utmost confidence in your doctor and a terrific rapport, no one provider knows everything and you have nothing to lose by seeing someone else and getting his or her thoughts on your diagnosis and provider’s proposed treatment plan. The health of you and those you care about it not something to take lightly, so take the time to ensure you are receiving the best medical treatment available to you.