Trying to Find a Primary Care Physician in Corvallis

culturefailThere’s a classic Woody Allen joke that I’ve adapted. It goes like this, “Not only is there no god, but try finding a good doctor on your first try in Corvallis…”

Get it? No?

Jeez… when it rains it pours, huh Woody?

Seriously though, it is a pretty obnoxious process to “choose” your primary care physician around here.

Let’s use an example, we’ll call him Dale, with a PEBB health plan that roughly a trillion people around here have. Dale has just moved to Corvallis, knows nobody in town, has limited time off work and a problem with an itchy third nipple.

Dale has a feeling that this third nipple problem will require a specialist, but thanks to the healthcare morass, he can’t just make the appointment with the specialist directly. He needs a referral from a primary.

If Dale calls his healthcare provider, they’re just going to shunt him to the next name on their list, and it may not be a good fit for him.

“Okay,” Dales says to himself, “I just need to use the Internet to find a doctor that people seem to agree doesn’t suck. Could be worse…”

Oh Dale, you poor simple maroon.

He’s about to discover what I did when I tried to have my 3rd nipple removed find a primary care doctor: nobody around here is talking to each other.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, you’re all probably talking to each other, literally. But I want to handle this the way I handle everything else. The Internet.

Have you checked out Yelp for Corvallis? It’s pathetic. Doctors having pages with no reviews or no page at all, doctors with only one or two reviews… what are you all waiting for, Prodigy to upload your reviews via dial up?

There is an alternative, called, which does have slightly more participation from the citizenry, though not much. And Healthgrades does do one thing Yelp doesn’t which is sort of nice, which is that it gives more in depth background on the doctor. Where they went to school, what their specialties are, where they’re from, etc. But does knowing your OBGYN went to Oberlin really tell you that much?

We need experiential data!

The thing that makes Yelp preferable is that you get an actual rundown of what made the doctor so great or so terrible. Sometimes I’ll pick my doctor based on something terrible someone else wrote about them. What you hate most about the doctor (cold hands) is the thing I might prefer. Which is to say; not everyone is looking for the same thing in a doctor, so it’s important for us to communicate with each other.

This is the Internet’s strong suit… well this and pictures of cats. But using the Internet to gather and commiserate about the quality of services is basically the best use for it. And apparently Corvallisites aren’t doing that with the most important service of them all.

This is a clarion call for the people of Corvallis. Get on Yelp, and tell me about that awkward thing that happened with Dr. ________.

And then give me his/her number.

Dr. ________ just got a new patient.

by Ygal Kaufman