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Consumer Health Resources: Finding Healthcare Providers

Resources and tips for patients and health consumers

Find a Doctor, Dentist or Medical Facility


Do you need to find a new general practitioner (GP) or specialist? Have you been given a choice of medical facilities where a procedure or surgery can occur? Do you need help making an informed decision? Using the tips and resources on this guide, locate credible information on health care providers and health care facilities. Be proactive and make the best decision for YOU! There are both qualitative and quantitative factors that go into selecting healthcare providers and facilities.


Ask yourself...

Do you spend more time researching a "big ticket" purchase (car, vacation package, household appliance) than you do a health care provider or medical facility?

Consider this...
When you receive a referral to a medical facility or health care provider, what major factors contribute to the referral?


Are your best interests the top priority, or is a referral based on factors that have nothing to do with you or your needs?



Before making your decision, did you think about*...

  • Insurance

  • Location

  • Accessibility (physical access, hours of operation, scheduling, after-hours support)

  • Communication style (of individuals, "office" and/or facility)

  • Health care provider or facility accreditation

  • Health care provider or facility affiliations

  • Experience (service, disease/condition, surgery)

  • History (quantitative and/or qualitative)

  • Whether religion, gender or specialization matters

  • Whether or not the provider is familiar with alternative treatment methods and open to using them

  • Specific patient preferences & needs

    • "My son is only 6, does it matter if his health care provider is experienced with kids or has a pediatric specialty?"

*Considerations are in no particular order*

cartoon woman looking at a poster that says I see


Making the "right choice" requires collaboration and communication between health care providers and patients

Recommended Reading

Choosing a Doctor or Health Care Service topic page from MedlinePlus with many excellent resources

How to Find the Right Doctor: Whether you're looking for a primary care doctor or a specialist, these tips can lead the way.
from US News & World Report's Health & Wellness Section

How to Find a Good Doctor: Finding a doctor you can build a long-term relationship with is good for your health
from US News & World Report's Health & Wellness Sectioncartoon graphic of books

Why being able to talk to your doctor matters from the National Institute on Aging

Health Facilities topic page from MedlinePlus with many helpful resources

How to Choose the Best Hospital for Surgery from the MedlinePlus Encyclopedia

11 Signs You Should Fire Your Doctor from US News & World Report

Find a Doctor

American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS)
The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) is an organization of 24 approved medical specialty boards. The intent of the certification of physicians is to provide assurance to the public that those certified by an ABMS Member Board have successfully completed an approved training program and an evaluation process assessing their ability to provide quality patient care in the specialty. Check to see if your physician is certified.

AMA Physician Select: Online Doctor Finder
The American Medical Association Physician Select database provides basic professional information on virtually every licensed physician in the United States and its possessions, including more than 690,000 doctors of medicine (MD) and doctors of osteopathy or osteopathic medicine (DO)


Chicago Magazine's "Top Doctors" (a variety of lists and articles)

Includes Chicago magazine's biennial list of outstanding metro-area doctors is published in the January edition. The latest ranking is from 2022. The online list can be searched by specialty. Click here for the online edition

MEDLINEplus National Library of Medicine Directories
MedlinePlus provides links to directories to help you find libraries, health professionals, services and facilities. NLM does not endorse or recommend the organizations that produce these directories, nor the individuals or organizations that are included in the directories.

Physician Profile Search: Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation
Search by Physician name to access information profiles on all physicians currently licensed in the State of Illinois. Includes license information, disciplinary and legal actions, primary office locations, hospital affiliations, board certifications, medical school and post graduate education and more

WebMD Physician Directory
Search for a physician by name, medical specialty, distance from your home, HMO plan, hospital affiliation, or other criteria

Find a Dentist

Find an Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) Dentist
Use their online search tool to get references for general dentists within a specific geographic area. Provides tips and suggestions on how to select a Dentist.

Find an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon
American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons

Find a Periodontist
American Academy of Periodontology (AAP)

Mouth Healthy
From the ADA (American Dental Association), use the simple or advanced search options to find a member Dentist near you

How to Choose a Dentist (in 4 easy steps)
From the American Dental Association

American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry
Use their search tool to find a pediatric dentist near you

Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation Licenses Dental Professionals
Check a Dentist or Dental Hygienists Licensure

Find a Health Care Facility

America's Best Hospitals
U.S. News and World Report ranks the top medical centers

Illinois Department of Public Health: Nursing Homes in Illinois
Includes reports, how to select a nursing home, and a searchable directory of nursing homes in Illinois

Illinois Health and Hospital Association
Learn about IHA's more than 200 member hospitals and nearly 40 member health systems through their websites and connect with them by phone or in person

Illinois Hospital Report Card
Access information about the volume, cost and quality of health care provided in Illinois medical facilities Find & compare nursing homes, hospitals & other providers near you

MEDLINEplus National Library of Medicine Directories
Arranges directory links into categories including physicians, specialists, hospitals, services, and facilities

National Hospice Locator
The National Hospice Locator (NHL) geo-maps and provides information about every known hospice in the United States. Find hospices by clicking a state on the map, zooming into the area of interest, and clicking on a hospice pin (on the map) or name (in the list below the map) for detailed information. Information is gathered from Medicare data files; numerous hospice, state, and national public Web sites; and from surveying hospices directly

Find Complimentary, Alternative, or Integrative Providers

Complementary, Alternative, or Integrative Health: What’s In a Name?
This fact sheet explains the difference between the terms and the role that the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) plays in investigating (researching) the usefulness and safety of complementary and integrative health interventions and their roles in improving health and health care.


MedlinePlus Health Topic: Complementary and Integrative Medicine


National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) is the Federal Government's lead agency for scientific research on the diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not generally considered part of conventional medicine

National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
Search via the "Find a Practitioner" and "Registry" options

Need Help?


Need research help and not sure where to turn? Get help from the library via email, chat, and online appointments or stop by one of our reference desks during open hours of operation. 

Want to contact your Nursing & Health Sciences Librarian or set up a virtual or F2F appointment with her? Email Debra Smith:

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  • Last Updated: May 14, 2024 10:50 AM
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