Finding a Health Care Provider

MedlinePlus Directories
The first section of the Directories page is an excellent starting point for finding a family physician, specialist, dentist or other health care provider.  You'll also find specific directories of doctors on many of the Health Topic pages in MedlinePlus.

American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS)
You'll be able to verify if your physician is certified in any of the specialties covered by the ABMS.

American College of Surgeons
You'll not only be able to search for a surgeon, but you'll also have access to extensive patient information about a wide variety of surgeries, conditions, medications, and pain topics.

You can search for a doctor in your area, based on your condition and then make limited comparisons between doctors.  The number of conditions is also limited, but it may be a useful starting point.
You can search by state or by a limited number of recognition programs (such as Heart/Stroke, Diabetes or Back Pain for "doctors who have demonstrated that they meet important standards of care".

Directory of State Medical Boards
This is a useful site for checking on whether there are any disciplinary actions against any professional in any state.  You can go directly to the Pennsylvania State Board of Medicine as well as check the records of a number of health-related boards such as chiropractic, dentistry, nursing, nursing home administrators, social workers, and even veterinary medicine.
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Finding an Alternative or 
Complementary Medicine Practitioner
This information is provided by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine and covers insurance, questions to ask about CAM costs, state laws about CAM coverage, insurance denial of coverage, tax-related topics, and sources of financial assistance.
The AMF offers "responsible and reliable information about alternative medicine".  This site provides guidelines on how to choose a practitioner, listings of practitioners and websites, State Practice Laws, sources of training, and professional associations.
Some additional guidance on selecting and evaluating a practitioner, and some questions to ask on your first visit.
This site allows you to search for a holistic doctor by name, state, or area of specialty.
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Additional Resources
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has a helpful checklist to guide you in deciding what you want and need in a doctor, contacting the physician's office, and talking with him or her. This document is now archived, but still has good information.
Although this article lists some of the same sites found on this page (as well additional sites) it offers valuable guidance in navigating through the information.  The article is written by Stephen Barrett, M.D., perhaps best known for his Quackwatch site.
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Disclaimer:  The information contained at this website is not intended to replace the care of a primary care physician, specialist, or other professional health care provider.  It is intended solely to complement  that care and is for general informational purposes only.  Any health information found on the Internet should always be discussed with your health care provider.
This page is maintained by the library staff of  Wilkes-Barre General Hospital, a member of the Health Information Library Network of Northeastern Pennsylvania (HILNNEP). 

Last updated: May 14, 2013