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Doctor Referrals

Perhaps the single most important thing you can do to assure yourself high-quality medical care is to form a strong relationship with a good primary care physician. You need a doctor you can trust and talk openly with if a serious medical problem arises.

Your primary care doctor should be a family practitioner, internist, or pediatrician (for children), or perhaps an obstetrician/gynecologist (for women). If you are in an HMO, you won't be allowed to get your primary care from any other specialty. But even if you have traditional insurance, you are better off not to rely on a specialist for primary care.


Choosing a Primary Care Doctor

When looking for a good primary care doctor, one approach is to ask friends and associates for recommendations. You can also get recommendations from a doctor you may have worked with in another city - or, you can use the physician referral service of a local hospital, or the American Medical Association, or the Blue Cross Blue Shield Dr. referral websites. **When using the Blue Cross, Blue Shield site, if you are not a member, simply specify that you are a guest.

Below is a helpful list of physician referral services in the Boston metro area. They are very user friendly and enable you to search for a doctor by location, hospital affiliation, specialization and type. The service is also available via telephone.

Local Online Referrals Phone Number
Beth Isreal (800) 667-5356
Brigham and Women's (617) 732-5500
Children's (800) 355-7944
Emerson (978) 369-1400
Faulkner (617) 983-7000
Mass General (800) 711-4644
Mount Auburn (800) 322-6728
    Questions to ask the office:
  • Accepting new patients?
  • Within your health plan (PPO, HMO)?
  • Parking or public transportation?
  • Regular and emergency hours?
  • Group practice - number of doctors?
  • X-rays and tests can be done onsite?
  • School attended, Board certifications?
  • To which hospital can the doctor admit?

In addition, we've listed several national directories to further help you in your search for doctors.

Organization Service
American Medical Association Searchable AMA physician directory - must agree to site terms in order to use the engine. Fast & reliable.
American Board of Medical Specialists Searchable ABMS Physician Directory - best to know specific zip code to find doctors.
Blue Cross-Blue Shield Physician Finder National Physician Directory - to get the most comprehensive search coverage, choose PPO under network


Scheduling an office visit top of page

Once you have gathered all the information you can from calls to physicians' offices, talks with friends, and other sources, you may want to visit the physician who looks best to you. This is not uncommon for patients choosing a new primary care doctor.

A visit just to meet a doctor should be inexpensive or free. It will give you an opportunity to become familiar with both the location and comfort of the doctor's office.




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