How to check out your doctor online for free:
If you do a Google search of a doctor's name you will come up with a bunch of links to sites that rate the doctor. These are usually, but not always, ratings from patients. Many of those sites will require that your register and pay a fee before getting the full details on the doctor.
You can, however, do your own research on the doctor for free using the NYS Physician Profile website.
- Enter as much of the doctor's first and last name as you know. If you enter a partial name it will search for doctors whose name begins with what you have entered. Entering "Mark" under last name, for example, will come up with "Markowitz" as well.
- Click on the doctor's name from the list that pops up.
- Look at the top of the page under the doctor's name to see when she/he was licensed in NY. The doctor may have been licensed in another state or country prior to that, but this will tell you how long she/he has been practicing in New York. A doctor who has been recently licensed doesn't necessarily mean that she/he will not be as good as a doctor who has been licensed for many years. It's just one factor to consider in deciding what doctor to use.
- Click on "Education" to get an idea of where and when the doctor graduated from school. Also on this page is "Board Certifications." A doctor does not have to be "Board Certified" to practice a specialty BUT Board Certification is an indication that the doctor has both the knowledge and experience to practice that specialty.
- "Practice Info" will give you general information about the doctor's office including what field of medicine they practice, where their offices are, what doctors are in the practice, what insurance they accept, what hospitals they have privliges at and what languages they speak. If you know you need an operation, for example, and want to be operated on at a specific hospital, make sure that the doctor has privliges at that hospital.
- "Legal Actions" is one of the most important areas to check. It will have information on lawsuits as well as disciplinary actions against the doctor.
The lawsuits section is dependant on the doctor accurately reporting when they have been sued. This is not always accurate as many doctors will not report their lawsuits.
- You can also use the Unified Court System case search to search for all lawsuits against a doctor. After entering the security character, click on "Party Search", in the "Party Name" box enter the doctor's last name, first name. Do not put a space between the comma and the first name - it is "Doe,John" not "Doe, John". Check the "Defendant" circle and select "Bronx" under County. Then click on "Find Case."
- The fact that a doctor has lawsuits against her/him does not necessarily mean that she/he is not a good doctor. Certain specialties, especially obstetrics and surgeons, are very prone to getting sued. If the doctor appears to have a lot of lawsuits, do a similiar search for one or two other doctors in the same specialty that you are considering. Compare the suits against each of the doctors to see if any of them are unusual.
- Disciplinary actions information is not dependent on the doctor's reporting and is therefore very accurate. Only disciplinary actions in the last 10 years will show up. To check this, go to the section on "NY Licensee Action" and click on "OPMC." If there are ANY actions under the OPMC, read them carefully. Most doctors will not have any disciplinary actions.
- "Professional Activities" will show you if the doctor has any teaching positions, publications and professional membership. Most of these are not required to be reported by the doctor so it doesn't necessarily mean anything if nothing is listed.
- "Statement." They doctor can choose to make a statement but is not required to do so. Most do not include a statement.