Online Medical Reviews: Consider the Source

During the last few years, there has been an increase in online medical reviews. In an effort to encourage patient education, we would like patients to complete due diligence and research their healthcare options and medical providers. Most importantly patients should Consider the Source. Instead of relying on anonymous online reviews, there are many legitimate resources for checking medical credentials.

State medical associations offer membership after a rigorous background and educational review. In order to maintain in good standing, a physician must meet annual renewal requirements which include reporting malpractice awards. California Medical Association is one example but you can also check registration and active membership for a doctor with your respective state medical organizations such as The Peripheral Nerve Society (

Check for specialty society affiliations provide specialists with additional membership and credentialing process. These certifications require annual additional continuing medical education requirements so that physicians stay current with the standard of care and the latest clinical techniques. American Association of Neurological Surgeons ( and the Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons ( are two examples of specialist certification and membership depending on the type of physician you are considering there will be different specialty boards.

Look for major medical center affiliations which require annual renewal of physician continuing education credits in order to renew hospital privileges. A physician must qualify and remain in good standing in order to have access to the equipment, personnel, and operating room for each hospital so verifying a medical provider’s affiliation with a major medical center is a significant qualification. Check local hospital physician directories for staff privileges. For example, Institute for Nerve Medicine medical director Dr. Aaron G. Filler, MD PhD FRCS, maintains privileges at Cedars Sinai Medical Center, Saint John’s Health Care Center and Olympia Medical Center. The Congress of Neurological Surgeons ( also maintains a comprehensive database of certified doctors and their medical privileges.

Doctors don’t control the level of payment for services you may receive from your insurance provider. We always recommend (and can assist with) an appeal to your insurance plan if your reimbursement is lower than anticipated. Each state has a Department of Insurance that has been established to help consumers with insurance appeals. If your physician is contracted with an insurance plan carrier and you want to verify his contract and/or need assistance with the insurance payment, then contacting your state insurance professionals for help is a better resource than going to online bloggers for help. For California residents, the state insurance authority is the Department of Insurance (

Check for recent peer reviewed publications. Physicians who practice medicine good medicine share their ideas and innovations in a number of ways. One of the ways that a prospective patient can determine if a doctor is qualified is to check the doctor’s CV and publication listings. In order to get published in a major medical journal a physicians techniques and research outcome studies must be supported by his peers. The Journal of Neurosurgery, Radiology, Neurosurgery Focus and The New England Journal of Medicine are just a few peer reviewed and renown medical publications that publish outstanding physician articles and research.