Do you know the difference between a medical doctor, a chiropractor, a psychologist and a podiatrist? Some Idahoans do not, and that lack of information can cause problems, says the Idaho Medical Association.
The “Know Your Doc” campaign aims “just to empower patients” with knowledge about professionals’ licenses and credentials, said Susie Pouliot, CEO of the Idaho Medical Association.
A website, www. knowyouridahodoc.com, says there are “many nonmedical doctor providers who are well-trained and do an excellent job at what they are trained to do. It is not our purpose to direct you away from (them).”
But the website adds, “Medical doctors frequently relate stories of patients who have seen another ‘doctor’ and were advised to stop the medications or treatments they (were) prescribed. Sometimes these patients come in because they are having serious problems. Only later does it become clear the patient thought the other provider was a medical doctor, but in fact he or she was not.”
The association previously proposed legislation in Idaho requiring all providers to clearly identify themselves in advertisements and face-to-face interactions, such as by including an M.D. for medical doctor or a D.C. for doctor of chiropractic.
That doesn’t always happen. The Idaho Board of Chiropractic Physicians, for example, has disciplined two chiropractors in the past year, saying they failed to “conspicuously identify (themselves) as a chiropractor in all advertising and on letterhead” and/or failed to identify the practice as a chiropractic practice.
“There are so many different types of doctors, it creates confusion on behalf of patients,” Pouliot said.
The medical association’s members “totally embrace in the concept of ... working in partnership with other health care providers” including physician assistants, nurse practitioners, chiropractors, acupuncturists and other professionals, she said. “But it’s done as a team ... with coordination and complete transparency to the patient.”