I am going to let you in on my hottest tips for finding good doctors, based on what I’ve learned since the onset of my husband’s illness. Yes, the hardest thing of all was finding a good ED doc! So I am going to put special emphasis on sniffing out the “sexperts”.
Note that this list is very idiosyncratic, and also that resources vary from state to state. Comments welcome, also your own tips.
* For Erectile Dysfunction (ED) doctors: look at sexhealthmatters.org., the website of a nat’l association which specializes in “Sexual Medicine”. Includes US and Canada.
* Ask for recommendations from people in online forums (best bet for ED = ones related to “impotence”, etc.,) and from people you know. If you have a personal physician you trust absolutely, ask him or her for some names.
* Check local PC advocacy or support groups. Ask if they know any docs.
* Look at online “Find a Doctor” sites for Urology. There is Urologyhealth.org (approved by Amer. Urol. Assoc.) and Urologychannel.com. On these sites you can search by proximity (zip code) and *practice details.* Look for a doctor whose primary or secondary interest is ED, impotence, sexual medicine, genitorurinary surgery, PC.
* Look up your State’s Urological Society. Some, like Indiana’s, have good info for patients.
* Check Castle Connolly’s “America’s Best Doctors” and “America’s Best Doctors for Cancer”. Easy to search by index of subspeciaties. Cancer book came out recently. It is the best thing since sliced bread. Lists 2,000 cancer docs in 16 sub-specialties. Go to castleconnolly.com or you can find it in the library. Metro areas available for NY and Chicago.
* I really like Consumer’s Union, a nonprofit group which publishes books of recommended doctors, hospitals and health plans. Have made extensive use of their “Top Doctors” book. Website: checkbook.org. (Info also available online for a fee).
* Also, sometimes local magazines or newspapers will publish doctor reviews. Here, NY Mag. does a yearly feature on this. Search “best” or “top” + doctors” and your area. I just came across such a list from kcmag.
* For general info about a doctor you can do a basic google search. Personal details can make a difference. For info about a doctor’s scholarly output, try googlescholar.com.
* Hospital. Find a good teaching hospital, i.e., one affiliated with a medical school. Be wary of small, for-profit community hospitals. Google “teaching hospitals” and [your state]. At a particular hospital site, look at the Uro Dep’t and key in (for ED): “Sexual Medicine” (or “Dysfunction”), “Erectile Dysfunction” or ED, Impotence, Genitourinary Cancers, Prostate Cancer, etc.
* Look at usnews.com, (US News and World Report), which ranks the Top 50 hospitals in US by specialty (“rankings”). But keep in mind that these are a tiny % of all hospitals. *Usnews.com also provides basic info on *all* hospitals (“health”), by state. Focus on Urology (or if your primary problem is PC, *Cancer*). On a hospital’s general website, look for “centers of excellence”, such as a “Prostate Disorders” or “Men’s Health” clinic. Don’t rely on your general impression of a hospital. One may be good for one thing and bad for another. Example: MSK and NY Presb are both first-rate hospitals in NYC. However, MSK is rated #1 in the country for cancer; NY Presb is #24.
* Convenience should not be high on your list of priorities. Your goal is getting the best treatment for the problem you have. Especially with ED, you may not have to see the doctor often (husb. went twice?) or maybe you can stay in touch by phone. (Don’t assume you need all the diagnostic tests, either, or get them done locally.) Don’t fixate early on on any single option. Research the pros and cons carefully. If possible, see people from multiple disciplines, such as urology, oncology, radiation onc., etc. (for cancer).
* [Your state.gov] Check your state’s Office for Prof’l Licensing, in “healing arts” or “medicine”. Check doctor’s licensing status, disciplinary history, etc. Some states will link you to a physician profile.
* State Physician Profile. Provides extensive info about a particular doctor. This is mandated by law in many states, such as NY. (Search your state + “doctor profiles”.)
* See a doctor with many years of experience and an established reputation. (My own peference = the older, the better.) Such doctors are less likely to be less concerned about what people think of them, less likely to worry about litigation, and more likely to give you straight talk. If you can, go see several. If you have to pay out-of-pocket it’s worth it if you can afford it.
* Don’t just assume the people your doctor refers you to are the best. They will almost certainly be colleagues at the same hospital. Or maybe they are just his golfing buddies. However, if you have a trusted internist, ask for suggestions.
* Many people here admire Dr. Stephen Strum for his long-time dedication to the PC community, even though some (if not many), of his ideas are not considered mainstream. I would go to pcri.org and have a look at Strum’s list of recommended docs. Also beloved by the online PC community is Dr. Charles (Snuffy) Myers, well-qualified oncologist and former PC patient, who focuses on PC and diet (prostateforum.com). [Only thing is: above are not subject to criticism: you might as well “touch the third rail”.]
* For objective info on PC in general, go to endotext.org. This site has comprehensive info for practicing doctors but it is also understandable to laypeople. Has won awards for quality of content and clarity. And I call it the “no spin zone”, because it’s more or less unbiased.