The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

How To Find The Right Foot Doctor

Posted by on Monday, May 20th, 2013

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Finding the right doctor isn’t as easy as it should be. “The truth of the matter is that people are hard pressed to make well-informed decisions when they choose a doctor, and they’re doing it blind,” AARP senior adviser Joyce Dubow told the New York Times. “We don’t have objective data, so we use family and friends. And that’s not objective.”

We are still in the early phases of compiling data on patient reviews of doctors. Great care must be taken to ensure the accuracy of the information — to protect the good doctors and to help the bad doctors improve. Currently, there are insider websites indicating which health care employees have been previously fired, but it’s not open to the public. Nonprofit groups have tried to access Medicare records to see how often surgeons perform hip replacements or prostate surgery, but the government has blocked the proposal. Even so, there are ways for you to find a reliable, proficient doctor — whether it’s a pediatrician or a podiatrist.

Finding A Good Foot Doctor In Your Network

Dr. Pamela F. Gallin, author of How to Survive Your Doctor’s Care, recommends checking with your health care plan to see if they have access to good information on individual physicians. They may be able to look up National Committee on Quality Assurance accreditation or the Healthcare Effectiveness Data Information Set. Ask if they have a network of high-performing “honor roll” doctors. You’ll also want to find out precisely what your health insurance provider is willing to cover for foot care.

Searching For Podiatrists Online

There are several websites that may provide helpful clues:

ABMS.org (American Board of Medical Specialties): Find out who is a certified board member.

AAPSM.org (American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine): Find out who graduated from the academy.

ACFAS.org (American College of Foot & Ankle Surgeons): Find a qualified professional surgeon.

ASPSMembers.org (American Society for Podiatric Surgeons): Find a credentialed surgeon.

ABPS.org (American Board of Podiatric Surgery): Find a board-certified foot surgeon.

– HealthGrades.com: Find out hospital affiliations, office locations, insurance carriers, years of practice, and read patient reviews.

Docboard.org: Look up a medical license number.

AngiesList.com (paid subscription): Get patient reviews.

Checkbook.org (paid subscription): Get patient reviews.

Calling Around

Sometimes it can be hard to think of the right questions to ask. A few might be:

– Do you have weekend or evening hours?

– How long does it generally take to schedule an appointment?

– Can you schedule same-day appointments for emergencies?

– Does your office use electronic records? If so, what steps do you take to prevent health information breaches?

The Bottom Line:

Many people “settle” with a doctor simply because the office has a convenient location or it seems like too much of a hassle to switch. Yet, doctor-patient relationships are some of the most important types of bonds we can possibly form. You want to have a good rapport with your doctor and feel comfortable during visits. Don’t feel pressured to commit to a particular doctor. Find someone who, you feel, completely has your best interest at heart.

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If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.