How to Finding A Good ED Specialist

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.

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5 Comments

  1. Michael September 11, 2009 at 9:51 am

    The site I used and found to be more informative regarding the best doctors for certain conditions and/or surgical procedures is a site called mdnationwide.org. They specialize in doctor background reports including ratings, and identifying the best doctors in America based on their extensive surveys and research.

    BTW – I had prostate cancer in 2007 and prior to that I was looking into the Da Vinci computer-assisted robotic system regarding a Prostatectomy and I found my urologic surgeon in mdnationwide.org’s best doctor database. Currently, I’m cancer-free and living strong.

    Thanks

    Michael

  2. Patricia Brannan December 28, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    Thanks. My husband had a radical prostetectomy almost 3 months ago and we are trying to be proactive. His doctor gave him very little info. regarding ED and we are reading what we can to help prevent a return of function if possible. Both nerve bundles were taken but we are using a vacuum device right now and both enjoy the ability to have intercourse again. I’m getting over the heartaches and worries of returning cancer. It’s great to have an outlet to express my emotions.

  3. Ed Weinsberg May 23, 2010 at 12:20 am

    Leah,

    What a fantastic, broad-sweeping review of how to access ED specialists.

    Thanks for doing such comprehensive, yet detailed research for those of us who could use this vital information.

    May I have your permission to duplicate this article with full attribution to you at my blog, http://www.conquerprostatecancer.com?

    Thanks very much!

    Rabbi Ed Weinsberg

  4. Leah June 3, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    Sure, you can use anything from the blog as long as you attribute it.

    Regards,

    Leah

  5. Rabbi Ed Weinsberg, EdD December 25, 2012 at 11:55 pm

    Hi,Leah,

    I took a few moments to review your fabulous tips on ED specialists, which you wrote 2 1/2 years ago. Before I duplicate this with attribution at my site (as per our last communication) I wonder if you might add certified sexuality counselors who specialize in ED, particularly as it relates to prostate cancer.
    Disclosure: I’ve been an AASECT-Certified Sexuality Counselor for the past couple of years, and perhaps there are other AASECT members and healthcare professionals from other sexology organizations, who are not MD’s worth of your review and update These specialists delve into the psycho-social, but non-medical aspects of reconnecting couples, where one or both partners have sexual dysfunctions – although not all such professionals work with cancer survivors.

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