Your health is important, so you want to be assured the person responsible for your health, whether it be a physician or surgeon, has the necessary credentials and background. Although several sites online provide this information for a price, there are ways to obtain a doctor's background information for free.
Know what to look for when investigating a doctor's background. Being licensed does not necessarily make a physician or surgeon a high-quality doctor. Seek the answers to several questions: Is he board-certified in his field? Has he been practicing in his field for at least five years? Has he been the target of malpractice suits or disciplinary actions? Has he been fellowship-trained in his field, which is usually an indication the doctor is capable?
Visit your state's official Medical Board website, which, for example, would be www.medbd.ca.gov in California. The site can provide names of doctors, their records, their licenses and other relevant information.
Register and logon to the American Board of Medical Specialties website at www.abms.org. Registration to become a member is simple and free. The site can be used to search for board-certified doctors in your area, or to check the background of a physician or specialist.
Thomas McNish has been writing since 2005, contributing to Salon.com and other online publications. He is working toward his Associate of Science in computer information technology from Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, Fla.