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How to Get Doctor Referrals

Getting a referral to a good doctor requires a fair amount of homework. Here are some guidelines to help.


  • Step 1: Be clear about your needs Be clear about your medical needs. Before you can look for a referral, you will need to know the medical specialty you are looking for.
  • Step 2: Ask your current doctor Ask your current doctor's office for a referral if you need to see a doctor in another specialty.
  • Step 3: Consult a directory Consult a directory of physicians such as the one maintained by the American Medical Association if your current doctor isn't able to provide a referral.
  • TIP: Check with your state medical board to make sure the physician's license is valid and whether the doctor has faced disciplinary action.
  • Step 4: Check certification Check whether the doctor is board certified. You can check on certification status with the American Board of Medical Specialties' website at
  • Step 5: Check online ratings Check online physician ratings to learn how other patients have evaluated the doctor.
  • Step 6: Check whether the doctor accepts your insurance Check whether the doctor accepts your insurance plan if you will be using it to pay for your medical treatment. Now you can make that medical appointment and feel confident knowing you made the right choice.
  • FACT: The American Medical Association was founded in 1847 and set the standards for a proper medical education.

You Will Need

  • Medical specialty
  • Current doctor
  • Directory of physicians
  • Internet access
  • Certification status
  • Physician ratings
  • List of providers covered by insurance
  • State medical board (optional)

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