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How to Look Up a Doctor

Online and the

Old Fashioned Way - in the Books

Finding information about a doctor has never been easier. If you know your doctor's name and what he/she specializes in, then you can find out where they went to school, where they practice now, and, more importantly, if they have any malpractice claims against them.

There are two basic ways to look up your doctor - using the directory books in the Henry Waldinger Memorial Library's reference section or on using trusted websites via the Internet either at home or at the library. We'll explain how to use the books first, then the websites.


The Books

Directory of Physicians CoverThe Directory of Physicians in the United States is maintained by the American Medical Association. This four volume set is split up by geographic location with the first volume being an alphabetical listing of doctors. To use the other volumes in this series, first choose your state. Then flip to the town that you think your doctor practices in; doctors are listed alphabetically after that. Each entry contains the doctor's full name, other biographical information that is abbreviated, and usually an office location. (Call number: R 926 D)


The Folio Physician Directory with Healthcare Facilities - New York City and Long Island is organized into three separate sections: alphabetical by name, town and then medical specialty and town. To look up a doctor, you need to know at least the doctor's last name. Flip to Section One of the book and browse until you find the doctor's name. It works the same way to look up a doctor in either of the other two sections, although you will have to refer back to the name directory in Section One for an office phone number and address. Page numbers are listed in Sections Two and Three to make this easier. This book is kept behind the Reference Desk. Ask the librarian for access. (Call number: Ref Desk R 926.1 F)


America's Top Doctors CoverThe America's Top Doctors is organized by specialty, then geographic area. The doctors are listed alphabetically within each geographic area. New York is considered "Mid Atlantic." Finding a doctor in this book is similar to using the AMA directory. First, determine which specialty the physician is in, then flip to the "Mid Atlantic" section; from there, the doctors are listed alphabetically. (Call number: R 610.6952 A)

Top Doctors: New York Metro Area Cover


Top Doctors: New York Metro Area highlights doctors who practice in the New York City area. To find a doctor in this book, first select the county where the doctor practices, then narrow down your search by selecting the specialty; from there, doctors are listedalphabetically. (Call number: R 610.6952 T)


Medical Directory of New York State is published by the Medical Society of the State of New York . Doctors are listed either alphabetically or by specialty and town. To use this volume, you need only to know the name of the doctor. First look up the name in the "alphabetical list;" at the end of each entry, there is a page number. When you flip to that page, you will get a listing for an office address and phone number and also biographical information, such as where the doctor went to medical school. This book is kept behind the Reference Desk. Ask the librarian for access. (Call number: Ref Desk R 926.1 M)  

ABMS Directory Cover The Official ABMS Directory of Board Certified Medical Specialists is organized by doctor specialty, then state, then town, after that the doctor's are listed alphabetically. To use this series of books, first know what your doctor specializes in, flip to that volume and then find "New York State ." Then you need to find the town your doctor practices in; from there the doctors are listed alphabetically.  (Call number: R 926.1 O)



On the Web

The New York State Physician Profile is a database maintained by the New York State Board of Health that provides users with an up-to-date profile of all physicians who are licensed to practice medicine in New York State .

  • From here select "Click here to search for a physician."
  • Enter the doctor's last or first name, field of medicine, hospital affiliation and then county or borough and city where the office is located. You do not need to know all the information, name and field of medicine will do just fine.

NYS Physican Profile Screenshot1

  • Then click "search."
  • The results will be displayed on the following screen.
  • Once you click on the name of the doctor you will be able to view the doctor's education, practice location, among other things.

NYS Physician Screenshot2

In addition to its print directory, the American Medical Association also maintains a database, called the Doctor Finder that is updated regularly. Click on the "Patients and Consumers search for a physician" button. Follow the on screen instructions until you get to the search page. There are two ways to search for a doctor either by name or by specialty.

Doctor Finder Screenshot1

To search for a doctor using the name:

  • Plug the last name of the physician into the search box and select the state where the doctor practices. If you know the city or zip code, you can enter that also, but it's not necessary.
  • Click "Quick Search."

To search for a doctor using specialty:

  • Select the specialty from a list by clicking the arrow to the right of the specialty field.
  • Select the state or plug in the city or zip code.
  • Click "Quick Search."

Doctor Finder Screenshot2

If the doctor you are looking for is a member of the AMA, his/her name will be on the next page, along with a specialty and city or town listing. Once you click the doctor's name and you will get information about where their practice is located, what medical school they attended and other details.

If the doctor is not a member of the AMA, click on the "View non-member physicians," then click on "List non-AMA members." The next list of doctors will be names and specialties with a town and zip code. Clicking on the name of the doctor will give you the doctor's specialty and usually a location.

The New York State Department of Health also maintains the database of Professional Misconduct and Physician Discipline . As the name suggests, this is a database that contains medical malpractice information for doctors since 1990. For actions prior to 1990, the Department of Health lists a phone number and mailing address for inquires.

  • In order to use the database, click on "Physician Search - New and Improved."
  • The easiest way to search this database is by physician. Click "Physician Search."
  • The only thing that you need to enter on the search page is the doctor's last name and the type of license. Then click "search."

If your search returns "0" results, that means that the Department of Health has no actions against him/her. If you do get results, simply click on the physician's name to learn more about the action, including the date and type of infraction.

The American Dental Association offers a directory of practicing members. This is only a directory, though; the ADA does not provide information about a dentist's education or malpractice.

  • Go to Find an ADA member Dentist . Follow the on screen instructions.
  • Fill in the type of dentist you are looking for.
  • Then enter the city, state or zip code.
  • Click "Search."

The results will be listed in alphabetical order with an office location and phone number.

The New York State Office of the Professions , part of the State Education Department, maintains a database that will tell you if a dentist is licensed and when that license expires.

Results are listed in alphabetically. Clicking on the license number will take you to a page that shows when the license was issued and when it will expire. It also shows the status of the license and if you click on the word "status" will explain what each term means.

NOTE: Book covers are from Amazon.com.
Web screenshots are from the individual websites unless otherwise noted.

Ask at the Adult Reference Desk for assistance in using any of the print or online resources listed above. Or e-mail your questions to the library at hwmlcontact@hotmail.com.

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©2005 Henry Waldinger Memorial Library - Revised 09/29/2008