Web sites bring like-minded patients and doctors together

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A growing number of Web sites are offering patients a way to search for physicians of a particular race, religion, or sexual orientation. Already, the Internet plays host to findablackdoctor.com, the Christian Medical & Dental Association's Web site (www.cmda.org), and the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association Web site (www.glma.org), according to American Medical News (3/27/06). The availability of these sites may be a win-win situation for both parties.

A growing number of Web sites are offering patients a way to search for physicians of a particular race, religion, or sexual orientation. Already, the Internet plays host to http://findablackdoctor.com/, the Christian Medical & Dental Association's Web site ( http://www.cmda.org/), and the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association Web site ( http://www.glma.org/), according to American Medical News (3/27/06). The availability of these sites may be a win-win situation for both parties.

For patients, having the option of seeing a like-minded physician may increase their comfort zone. Research has also shown that patients who had doctors of the same race were more satisfied with their care, indicating that their doctors were "more participatory" and that they would refer a friend to their provider, for example.

For physicians, the sites may help them expand their patient base, form bonds with those who have similar backgrounds, and reduce racial and ethnic disparities. Of course, before adding your name to one of these sites, determine whether the benefits would outweigh the risks. Physicians may lose more patients than they gain, for example, if they are listed on the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association Web site.

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