In Part I, I have given you ‘the basics’ that every doctor must have. But if you are searching for an innovator; a specialist who states they have the ability to treat you more effectively (than how you have been treated by others who practice chronic pain therapy), you will need additional information. That is, you will have to dig a little deeper and find what makes this specialist different and more qualified than the other doctors you have been to.
Following are ways that you can use the Internet to find not only a credible doctor but a highly qualified, innovative specialist who will have the expertise to solve your constant pain problem. Seek answers to these questions:
Does the doctor have a patient website(s) describing their work?
Is their website easy to understand and presented in a professional manner? Websites that are well written, well designed and have been online for several years replete with timely and authoritative information, all speak very well about the doctor.
Does the doctor provide a C.V? If so, go to the schools they have listed and check for accuracy (see Part 1 of this article).
Has the doctor been interviewed by legitimate online websites? Are these interviews available to listen to on the doctor’s website? If you contact the interviewer (by going to their website) you can ask questions about the doctor’s credibility.
Doctors often have patient testimonials on their website because people like to read them. But patient testimonials are difficult to authenticate. Testimonies given by other experts (in the doctor’s field) carry more weight. Sometimes you can contact that expert directly (Google search on that expert and send him an email) and verify the accuracy of their testimony.
What type of professional societies do they belong to?
First, note whether these societies are consistent with the doctor’s area of expertise. Then check to see if these societies are valid. Sometimes they are not. For example; for a few hundred euros, a bogus society of ‘Outstanding Professionals’ (the name changes periodically) awards a plaque and a place in their book indicating that the doctor is one of the top recognized professionals in their area of specialization.
Are other medical professionals talking about the doctor?
This can be evidenced by many links to the doctor’s website. Also, look for professional forums discussing the doctor’s work. It’s not uncommon to find that the more dynamic and forward thinking the doctor is, the more controversial their work is – some will support it and others may condemn it.
Is the doctor a researcher?
Have they presented their research at a nationally recognized healthcare organization(s)? (An invitation to present is an honor given only to recognized experts in their area of research).
Have they developed a new therapy in their field of expertise?
Does the doctor hold any patents on products or tools that pertain to their therapy? US patents can be verified by going to the United States Patent and Trademark Office at http://www.uspto.gov/. On this site, you can do a search on the specific patent to find out if it exists and who the inventor is.
Does the doctor teach?
There are two levels of teaching:
Teaching an established subject:
Teaching one’s own original research:
Has the doctor published?
Go to the doctor’s website and look for their list of publications. To see if they are accurate and really exist, check to see if the publications list has a link to the actual publications (where you can read the original paper online). Or, you can check the publication by going to the website of the journal that published the paper. It will list all the publications by author and year. This eliminates any doubt about the authenticity of the publication.
What type of papers does the doctor publish?
There are two types of medical publications:
Publishing on another expert’s work:
Publishing on one’s own original research:
Is the publication peer reviewed?
A ‘peer review’ is the critiquing of a paper, by several experts who have knowledge in the field of the submitted paper.
In order for a paper to be published in a peer review medical journal, it goes through this peer review process. This involves the scrutinizing, critiquing and (in many cases) the challenging of the paper to ensure that it is solid, accurate and well-founded. (The reputation and credibility of the journal depends on this). Only after they have determined that the paper is relevant and meets their standards for publication, is it published in the peer review medical journal.
Original research is very difficult to get published in a peer review medical journal. If it is published, this is a high form of recognition from experts in one’s field and indicates an elevated level of expertise in a given subject.
If the original research is on alternative medicine (non-drug or surgery) it can be even more difficult to get published. When original research on alternative medicine is published in a peer review medical journal, this is quite an achievement.
Anyone can publish in a non-peer review journal, in which the author simply submits the paper. When a doctor is published in a peer review journal, this shows the credibility of their work.
Have other medical journals or medical books cited this doctor’s publications?
If so, this is a strong indication of the doctor’s status in the medical community. Often, these citations will be noted on the doctor’s website, with language such as: Doctor Smith’s work has been cited in the following medical textbook (and a link to that page will be provided).
Has the doctor written a book about their work?
Read their book. Is it original work or merely a summary or opinion of others’ work? Is it easily understandable, or written in technical language to make the author sound important? Have you learned something that you can take from the book and use in your life?
Does the doctor cite references in their book to support their point of view? Check the references to see if they really exist, if are accurate and if what is being cited has relevance to what has been written in the book. Reliable references come from medical publications. Less reliable sources come from magazines (in print or online). Least reliable references come from articles published on websites that do not peer review or scrutinize the article before it is published.
It takes many years of study, hard work, compassion and dedication for a doctor to achieve the accomplishments and credentials above. The more of these credentials that the specialist has; the better chance you have of being treated by someone who can permanently eliminate your chronic musculoskeletal pain and help you get your health back on track.
How To Find A Credible And Qualified Doctor On The Internet - Part 2
In Part 1 – How To Find A Credible And Qualified Doctor On The Internet – we talked about how to determine if a doctor (that you find on the Internet) is credible and qualified to effectively treat your chronic muscle and joint pain. We addressed how to find out the legitimacy of the doctor’s school, the validity of their diploma, the degree of their expertise and if the length of their training is sufficient to practice their therapy.