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How do I find a great new doctor where we're moving?

By October 22, 2008 - 10:12am
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We are getting ready for a move to Dallas, where we don't really know anyone. How does a person find a great new doctor in a new city? I hate to start canvassing co-workers or neighbors before I even know them very well. Any secrets I can borrow from people who've done this before?

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I have some suggestions, as we moved last January to a new place, and needed to find a new doctor immediately (pediatrician) and other doctors are still in the works (eye doctor and dentist, for instance).

1. Ask current doctors for recommendations
I made a list of all of our doctors we currently had, and asked them if they had any recommendations. Surprisingly, one of our doctors had a sister who lived in our new area with kids, and recommended a pediatrician. The other doctors gave us a website for their profession, with a search function on "find a doctor" via zipcode (and verifies their credentials, experience, etc). I printed this list and proceeded to my next step below.

2. Join online communities for your new community
I joined a few "special interest" communities, in our new city before we moved, and after a few days of observing (and searching their archives for similar questions), I asked for doctor recommendations. A few doctors' names were repeated, and I double-checked my previous list to make sure they had the credentials my previous doctor had recommended.

3. Review new communities' free publications online
Our new city has several popular "free magazines" that provide community events, resources, doctor advertisements, etc. Now, after living in our new area for over 9 months, I've realized some of these "advertised doctors" are the more popular and well-liked/well- respected doctors in the area. Please note: the "advertisements" are for a mom's magazine; these doctor offices are not shelling out thousands of dollars for advertising, as that would raise some red flags! Also, the doctors who are writing articles for the free publication magazines are worthy of being put on your list, as they are interested in education (depending on the magazine; use your best judgment that it is not just a self-promotion scheme).

4. Interview doctors, get to know neighbors, and interview more doctors
After all of this: you've paired down your list to perhaps gender (I preferred my son to haver a male pediatrician), to location, type of office, hospital-affiliation (another good question for the online community), then when you have moved to Dallas, you still need to go interview the doctor(s). One of our doctors came highly recommended, and we could not figure out why after the interview. So, back to my list I went, and while I was meeting new people, I would ask if they have any doctors they recommend.

This process is time-consuming, but important. You can choose a few doctors that you need first on your list, so it is not such a daunting task. Don't be afraid to switch doctors if one is not a good fit for you, but was "popular" in the online community. You can think of this as a decision for the next year, until you really know your community. It is not a decision you need to stick with!

oh...and another great place is to look at the doctors whom their peers voted for, called "Super Doctors".

My allergist is a Super Doctor and I absolutely love him and would highly recommend him.

October 23, 2008 - 1:32pm
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