Find a Doctor Near You? Yes, but Medical Booking Sites Have Downsides, Too.

Find a Doctor Near You? Yes, but Medical Booking Sites Have Downsides, Too.
Posted on Jun 25 2021
Consumer Reports

People often ask Ken Duckworth, MD, CMO of NAMI, whether he can recommend a psychiatrist. “I literally tell them, I have no idea who’s taking patients now,” he says. “Finding a provider is actually a very big hurdle, even if you have insurance, if you speak English, and you have the time to find one, because demand has been crushing supply, particularly in the pandemic.” Locating a new doctor and booking an appointment, especially on short notice, was never easy in our complex and fragmented healthcare system, and the COVID-19 crisis made matters worse. However, a number of online health scheduling companies say they can make booking a visit, whether for a psychiatrist or any other type of doctor, far more convenient. Not all doctors are listed, and privacy protections may be lacking. When asked about their data practices, several medical booking sites assured Consumer Reports that they behave responsibly, even if their privacy policies allow them to sell patient data. Also, look up state doctor certification sites, says Duckworth, of NAMI. “These things all have different names,” he says. “But it’s all state by state.”