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Googling for Doctors and Health Information


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After firing her oncologist, CFAH President Jessie Gruman observed how hard it was to do, partly because of “the sheer hassle of finding a new physician.” “Depending on where we live and what kind of clinician we are looking for, it can be a daunting challenge to find any replacement, much less one with whom we feel we can work well,” she says. Though the task may be unpleasant or stressful, Gruman emphasizes the importance of finding a doctor who's right for you. “Again and again, evidence points to our relationship with our clinicians as key to our effective participation in our health care,” said Gruman.

If you have moved to a new city, are looking to change doctors or need to  search a specialist, it can be a challenge to find a doctor with whom you feel comfortable and who meets your specific needs. A lot of people turn to the internet to start their search or to learn more about a doctor who was referred to them. In Finding a doctor online and researching your physician on the Internet, Kevin Pho, M.D., offers advice, including helpful resources and websites to consult, information about the board certification process and prescribing patterns, and physician rating websites.

Many of us use the internet to answer general health questions as well. But when Google turns up thousands of results (572,000 for "scratchy throat"), it can be tricky to know which sources to trust and what advice is unbiased. Kenny Lin, M.D., recommends looking for symbols like the Health on Net Foundation logo, which indicates that the website has been certified by this independent, quality rating organization. Lin also suggests starting at websites that are not-for-profit, like and, which can put you on the right track with reliable and trustworthy information.

Find additional help from CFAH's Be a Prepared Patient resources:

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Conversation Continues feature ongoing discussions or news on current health topics with links to related materials.  They are part of the Center for Advancing Health’s portfolio of free, evidence-based coverage of what it takes to find good care and make the most of it.

Tags for this article:
Health Care Access   Find Good Health Care   Health Insurance   Health Information Technology  

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