We're not exactly overflowing in good chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia doctors. In fact many people have trouble finding them even in large metropolitan areas and search for years looking for a good one. Some find a good one and stick with them through thick and thin. Others exhaust their resources or just give up.
With the high cost of medical treatment being able to quickly finding a good practitioner would be very beneficial.
Online practitioner rating systems are one way to do this. Potentially they provide a one-stop shop for finding good practitioners. I plugged 20 mostly well-known ME/CFS and/or FM practitioners into three prominent doctor rating systems (Vitals.com, HealthGrades, RateMD) in an attempt to assess how effective they were.
Name (age) Focus/Speciality Condition Most Known For Location Vitals - (# reviews) Average rating Health Grades - (# reviews) Average rating RateMD's (# reviews) Average Rating Health Rising - (# reviews) Average rating Total (# of reviews) Average Rating Dr. Lucinda Bateman (57) Internal Medicine ME/CFS Salt Lake City, Utah (10) 4.5 (2) 5.0 (8) 5.0 (1)5 (21) 4.8 Dr. John Chia (62) Infectious Disease Specialist ME/CFS Torrance, Ca (11) 4.5 (25) 4.6 (7) 4.5 (2) 5 (45) 4.6 Dr. Paul Cheney (68) MD ME/CFS Asheville, NC (5) 3.0 (4) 4.8 (8) 4.0 (2) 2.5 (19) 3.7 Dr. Daniel Dantini (73) Ear, Nose and Throat FM - (22) 3.5 (22) 4.8 (5) 4.9 - (47) 4.2 Dr. Derek Enlander (79) MD ME/CFS NY, NY (15) 4.0 (23) 3.7 (33) 3.5 (2) 3.5 (73) 3.7 Dr. Eric Gordon (64) MD ME/CFS/FM Santa Rosa, Ca (2) 4.0 (7) 3.7 (6) 3.7 - (15) 3.7 Dr. Kent Holtorf (51) Endocrinology ME/CFS/FM Torrance, Ca (48) 4.0 (44) 4.4 (34) 4.0 - (126) 4.1 Dr. David Kaufman (68) Internal Medicine, HIV ME/CFCS Mountain View, Ca (5) 4.0 (5) 4.3 - - (10) 4.15 Dr. Nancy Klimas (60) Immunologist/ MD ME/CFS Miami, FL (12) 4.0 (9) 3.6 (7) 3.9 (1) 5 (29) 3.9 Dr. Andreas Kogelnik () Infectious Disease Specialist ME/CFS Mtn View, Ca (9) 4.0 (9) 3.9 - - (18) 3.95 Dr. Charles Lapp (68) MD ME/CFS Charlotte, NC (22) 4.0 (18) 4.2 (7) 3.5 - (47) 4.0 Dr. Susan Levine (54) Internal Medicine ME/CFS New York (12) 4.5 - (36) 4.3 - (48) 4.35 Dr. Ginerva Liptan (40) Internal Medicine FM Lake Oswego, Oregon (3) 4.5 (7) 5 - - (10) 4.85 Dr. Jose Montoya (55) Infectious Disease Specialist ME/CFS Palo Alto, Ca (3) 4.0 (7) 3.3 (6) 2.5 - (16) 3.1 Dr. Benjamin Natelson (73) Neurologist ME/CFS New York, New York (3) 4.5 (2) 5.0 (4) 3.4 - (9) 4.1 Dr. Dan Peterson (65) Internal Medicine ME/CFS Incline Village, NV - (17) 4.0 - (1) 5 (18) 4.1 Dr. Alan Pocinki Internal Medicine ME/CFS, EDS Wash DC (5) 4.5 (14) 5.0 (10) 4.5 - (29) 4.4 Dr. Irma Rey (61) Internal Medicine, HI/AIDS ME/CFS Miami, FL (8) 4.5 (7) 4.7 - - (15) 4.6 Dr. Peter Rowe (60) Pediatrician ME/CFS Baltimore, MD (15) 5.0 (3) 5.0 (14) 4.7 - (32) 4.9 [/td][/tr2] Dr. Mark Sivieri (43) Family Practitioner/Primary Care ME/CFS/FM Columbia, MD (15) 4.5 (33) 4.9 (21) 4.5 - (69) 4.7
Click on the Green Download button to download an excel file of this chart.
How effective are online rating systems at helping you find a good fibromyalgia and/or chronic fatigue syndrome doctor? This review suggests that they can be helpful but some flaws exist.
The top-rated practitioners with over ten reviews were Dr. Peter Rowe (4.9), Dr. Liptan (4.85), Dr. Bateman (4.8), Dr. Sivieri (4.7), Dr. Rey (4.6) and Dr. Chia (4.6). Dr. Sivieri was an interesting find. The second youngest doctor on the list, he's almost unknown in the ME/CFS and FM communities yet has been reviewed quite a bit and has one of the highest ratings. Sivieri's excellent reviews suggest there are probably many fine doctors out there which the ME/CFS and FM communities at large know little about.
Since many of the experts are getting a bit long in the tooth (recently Dr. Lerner died and Dr. Cheney is reportedly retiring, finding good younger doctors is a priority.
Most doctors have probably not been reviewed enough times, however, to get a good sense of how effective they are. Perhaps the only doctors with a good cross-section of reviews are Dr. Holtorf (n=169), Dr. Enlander (n=73) and Dr. Sivieri (n=69).
Being an expert does not necessarily translate into reviews. Dr. Andrew Gross's fibromyalgia Youtube video has been viewed over 125,000 times yet I was able to find only six reviews for him. Dr. Peterson, Dr. Klimas and Dr. Bateman have seen thousands of patients yet each has been reviewed from 18-29 times. Dr. Ginerva Liptan has written a well-received book on fibromyalgia but has only 10 reviews. Rodger Murphree D.C. is on his 5th edition of his fibromyalgia book and has a big fancy website but I was able to find any reviews for him.
Not Exclusive to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia
Because most if not all of these doctors also see other than ME/CFS or FM patients the reviews may not reflect how effective they are at treating ME/CFS/FM. Dr. Pridgen provides a spectacular example of this. A surgeon who has also treated many FM and ME/CFS patients almost all of his reviews refer to his surgical practice.
One Site for ME/CFS and FM Practitioner Reviews?
One solution to the spotty review and "other disease" problem is to have one spot where only ME/CFS and fibromyalgia patients review practitioners. Health Rising's Ten Country Practitioner Review program provides provides one such resource and I invite you to use it. (You must be registered in the Forums to do this. Registration is on the top right hand side of the page).
Adding a Practitioner - You can add a practitioner and then review them by (1) going here, (2) clicking on the country they are found in, and then (3) clicking on the Add Practitioner button on the right hand side of the page. After you add them go back to the practitioner and click on the green Add Review button to review them.
Reviewing a Practitioner - You can review the practitioners noted in this blog by clicking on the following links and clicking on the green Add Review button on the bottom or the right of practitioner description.