Primary care doctors generally provide reasonable referrals for specialists such as internists, notes U.S. News and World Report. RateMDs also provides a resource for finding an internist locally.
Internal medicine physicians, or internists, are specialists who diagnose and treat adults for a variety of health conditions, from primary care to complex illness, explains the American College of Physicians. Internists are distinct from family physicians or general practitioners in that they do not handle pediatric cases or perform surgery or obstetrics.
A general practitioner can recommend an internist, states U.S. News and World Report. Patients should ask the doctor for the names of two specialists, and why he would choose one over the other. The patient should also inquire if the specialist typically coordinates care with the primary care doctor.
RateMDs offers a database for finding internists along with patient reviews. A prospective patient should select "Specialist: Internist / Geriatrician" and enter his city name and doctor name (this can be left blank to bring up a full list of internists) in the spaces provided. However, reviews may not be representative of the average patient's experience, especially if a doctor has relatively few comments, cautions U.S. News and World Report.
Board certification can be a strong indicator of an internist's competency and training, states U.S. News and World Report. Prospective patients can check a doctor's board status in internal medicine at CertificationMatters.org.