How to Research Your Doctor’s Track Record

Last month, the Kansas City Star uncovered a doctor in Kansas City who had been sued for malpractice 13 times in Illinois but was in good standing in Missouri. This came as part of an investigation of 500 doctors by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel and website MedPage Today. The study determined that finding public information on physician licenses is difficult.

This is very concerning. When you choose a hospital and doctor to work with, you are putting immense amounts of trust in them. Receiving the best care possible is vital to effective treatment. To protect yourself from working with a negligent doctor, it is important to know if the doctor you plan to work with has been accused of medical malpractice. There are various places you can look to discover the details of your doctor’s past. It is vital that you conduct all the research you need if you are working with a new doctor.

If you have any concerns that your doctor may have committed medical malpractice, it takes some digging, but there are resources that you can access to find out.

The Federation of State Medical Boards

The Federation of State Medical Boards has created a database called DocInfo that contains all the information available about disciplinary actions patients have filed against medical professionals across the country. You can access the database for a fee of around $10.

State Medical Boards

To become a medical professional in any state, you must get a license. Along with handling the licensure of doctors, each state’s board of medical licensure deals with any disciplinary actions that doctors may receive. Disciplinary actions can include suspension of the doctor’s license, or, in extreme situations, completely stripping the doctor of his or her license. Many states offer websites where you can access information on medical disciplinary actions for free. If you’re in a state without a free website, you can contact the state licensing board directly.

State Department of Health Services

Your state’s department of health services is another good place to go to find out whether your doctor has had any complaints or punishments.

Court Records

Some medical malpractice cases go to court. If a case goes to court, there will be a public record of it. Many court records are accessible online. Even if you cannot find the result of the lawsuit, you will most likely be able to see if anyone has filed a claim against your doctor.

It is important that you are careful when you look through court records. Some upset patients will file claims against doctors for unfair or irrelevant reasons that would have no effect on the type of care that the doctor would give you. Courts usually end irrelevant medical malpractice lawsuits early in the process, but there is still a court record of the situation.

Health Insurance Evaluations

Some health insurance companies provide information about the history of the doctors. Potential information could include education, specialty, and work history. You can contact your insurance company to get information about your doctor’s history and see if the insurance company has record of medical malpractice.

Check the Internet

Taking your search online can also be helpful. The website healthgrades.com lists doctors by names and has information pertaining to malpractice claims, sanctions, and board actions on each doctor listed on the site.

Conduct a Thorough Investigation

Doctors and medical facilities can be very skillful when it comes to hiding medical wrongdoings. They may keep it private or make the information extremely difficult to find. If you do not trust your doctor or are skeptical of his or her record, check the aforementioned resources. His or her medical malpractice claim may be difficult to find, and you might need to conduct a thorough investigation to find it.