As West Virginia’s population ages, more people are seeking medical treatment each year. Patients trust nurses, physicians, and other health professionals to provide accurate, knowledgeable recommendations for their care.

Unfortunately, medical errors remain a leading cause of death in the US according to the recent study by Johns Hopkins University.

So, how do you select the most qualified physician to treat you and your family?  Finding the right doctor will ensure you get the most benefit from your physician/patient relationship. Women are especially vulnerable and need to find a physician who listens to their care and concerns.  Here are some tips for selecting a physician:

  • Find out what physicians are included in your insurance coverage network. Many policies have stringent rules regarding out-of-network caregivers.
  • Choose a doctor who specializes in your needs. For example, a pediatrician is a good choice for children, while a woman may need a gynecologist.
  • Ask for referrals. If a friend, colleague or family member mentions they are happy with their doctor, as for their contact information.
  • Consider the physician’s location and hours. Visiting a doctor’s office that located close to your home or work location can make appointments easier and faster.
  • Arrange a visit to meet with the physician. Face-to-face meetings can tell you about the physician’s demeanor and communication style.

In West Virginia, a physician’s license to practice medicine is regulated by the WV Board of Medicine. Visit their website at https://wvbom.wv.gov/ to see any complaints, disciplinary action, lawsuits, or settlements against your physician, as well as any specialty license. For information on Osteopathic Physicians (DOs) and Physician Assistants (PA-Cs) who are supervised by Osteopathic Physicians, please visit the West Virginia Board of Osteopathic Medicine website.