Many people want their doctor to be nearby, competent and someone they are comfortable with. Other qualities may be important to you and your family when comparing doctors. These resources can help sort through what to consider:

  • The “Choosing a Doctor” guide from the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has several questionnaires to help you with a doctor search.
  • Choosing a Family Doctor from the American Academy of Family Physicians. This guide can help you choose a doctor who can treat your whole family.

What about Doctor Ratings Websites?

Online doctor reviews can tell you a little about a doctor’s personality, whether they are on time for appointments, what languages they speak and more.  Some of the information is collected from medical societies, doctor practices, health plans or even from patients.

However, doctor ratings websites are not well used and many physicians have very little online information or ratings or even none at all.

Organizations like the Informed Patient Institute (IPI), an independent nonprofit organization that provides credible online information about health care quality and patient safety for consumers, rates the usefulness of online doctor, hospital, and nursing home report cards. IPI doesn’t rate individual health facilities or practitioners — but they tell you who does.

We’ve also reviewed many popular doctor rating sites and suggest the following:

  • Health Grades – provides reports and ratings of doctors, hospitals, and nursing homes for free including information such as license and board certification, conditions treated, a background check and languages spoken.
  • Yelp – offers ratings on a variety of services, from restaurants to stores and some medical offices.
  • DrScore – provides patient ratings of doctors
  • RateMDs – allows you to find other patient ratings of family doctors by zip code or to find any doctor’s rating by a region. It also allows you to see state medical board records, get maps and contact information.
  • Angie’s List – contains detailed reviews from patients and consumers on a variety of services, including doctors. Requires registration and a fee
  • Consumer Health Ratings offers a directory of organizations that rate or report performance on doctors, specific hospitals, nursing homes, health plans, and other health care providers.

Want even more information or help choosing a potential doctor? These companies offer detailed physician reports and patient consultations for a fee:

  • Best Doctors –A for-profit consultation service with a database of 50,000 doctors worldwide.
  • Castle Connolly Medical Research Inc.-offers a doctor-patient advisor, which is a one-on-one consultation service that pairs patients with a physician or specialty-trained nurse.
  • Consumers’ Checkbook: Consumers’ Guide to Top Doctors-Their Guide to Top Doctors surveyed 340,000 doctors in the U.S. to determine who other doctors would select to care for a family member or friend.
  • HealthCare Credentials Check– Patients can search for doctors for free, but individual physician reports about credentials cost $7.95 (or $11.95 for unlimited access to reports for a day).

Original post by the Center for Advancing Health. Updated by the GW Cancer Institute January 2016.