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10 Ways to Find Quality Doctors Online

In the past, most people found doctors and specialists through word of mouth. A referral from a trusted relative or neighbor was the norm rather than cold calling around town. Nowadays, many people find care providers online, but most of us don’t know where to begin.

The internet helps us efficiently search, but the process can be overwhelming. Often, there is a lack of quality information, even if you conduct a search like “urgent care Philadelphia.” Here are ten ways to streamline the process of finding a quality doctor online.

1. Search for Doctors in Your Network

A good starting point when finding a doctor is through your insurance’s patient portal; they’ll have a list of in-network doctors and hospitals. Your health insurance provider has negotiated special rates with these providers to bring you more affordable care. 

Network types and regions will vary, so don’t assume your plan covers every urgent care Philadelphia facility. Do your research upfront, as avoiding out-of-network practitioners will reduce medical expenses.

2. Narrow Your Search by Specialization

Consider the unique needs of your health situation. Not all doctors specialize in the same field, so narrow your search to the type of care you require most. Most search engines allow you to filter by a doctor’s area of focus to find more specialized care.

For general needs, a doctor specializing in family or internal medicine can be an ideal primary care physician.

3. Start Local

When conducting your search, narrow the parameters to local doctors. A simple search for “urgent care Philadelphia” or your personal location will do the job.

How far are you willing to travel? Can you get there with public transportation? Are there ample places to park? If getting to the office is a logistical nightmare, you will be less likely to prioritize your care.

4. Verify Their Licenses

To practice medicine in the U.S., doctors legally have to obtain a state medical license from their designated state board. These licenses are the bare minimum you should seek when finding a doctor online.

To remain in good standing, practitioners must recertify every one to two years. To renew this license, they must demonstrate a continued track record of proper conduct and ethical medical practice. You can easily find this information by searching a doctor’s name on your state’s licensing database.

5. Choose Board Certified Doctors

Not to be confused with state licensing, board certification is an optional additional credential granted by a private organization. This elective certification demonstrates that a practitioner has achieved a high level of expertise in a given field of medicine.

Requirements include:

  • Graduating from medical school
  • Completing a residency training program
  • Passing board examinations
  • Documenting several patient cases in their specialty

Choosing one of these doctors practically ensures quality, whether you’re looking for an urgent care Philadelphia clinic or a specialist on the west coast.

6. Conduct Background Research

Before settling on a doctor, look into their background by searching for their name on state medical licensing board websites. If a practitioner’s medical license has ever been suspended, this indicates an actionable offense.

When it comes to malpractice and injuries, doctors are required to self-report, but some may not. Do an online search with the doctor’s name in quotations followed by keywords like “sanction,” “lawsuit,” or “malpractice” to dig a little deeper.

7. Read Doctor Biographies

Many hospitals and doctor’s offices post doctor biographies online, including crucial information like board certifications and licensing statuses.

Some doctors also share personal interests in their bios; reviewing these can help you build a connection before an in-person meeting. A patient-doctor relationship can last decades, so you should seek someone you can build rapport with.

8. Read Reviews

Much like finding a good restaurant, nearly half of adults use online reviews to find health care providers. Like on Yelp and other sites, take reviews with a grain of salt. Patients who are extremely satisfied or disgruntled are more likely to post than average patients, leading to skewed ratings.

Seek out reputable sites and avoid others that are advertisements in disguise. Reviews should be another tool in the kit rather than the determining factor.

9. Find Them on Social Media

These days, many doctors run blogs and engage on social media. Their content can be a good indicator of their attitudes and views on the profession. 

Finding a doctor with a proper bedside manner is just as important as technical skills in building trust. After all, this person will be with you through some of life’s most challenging moments, from the urgent care Philadelphia offers or any other city.

10. Call the Office

Once you have narrowed your search to a few promising candidates, call the office. You can gather a lot of information based on the interaction you have over the phone.

Ask how long it typically takes to get an appointment. Since you are a potential new client, your experience should be warm, enthusiastic, and professional. If not, move on; your health is too important.


Finding your perfect doctor can be challenging, but with a little research, you can conduct your search with confidence and secure great care more quickly.

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