Jill is worried sick about her husband, George. He becomes more forgetful every day. Sometimes he doesn’t even recognize their friends, and he’s gotten lost driving home from the nearby grocery store three times. The other day he went out, leaving a pot of boiling water on the stove. The pot was badly burned, and Jill is afraid George is going to cause a fire.
So Jill talks to her best friend, Nancy, who advises her to take George to a neurologist. Jill decides to do that, but asks herself which neurologist? She doesn’t want to see just any neurologist—she wants to see one who specializes in Alzheimer’s. She wonders where she can find that information.
That’s where XpertDox comes in. It’s a free online searchable database—a one stop resource—that helps people find the best doctor and hospital for more than 6,000 rare and serious diseases without any input from doctors, patients, hospitals or pharmaceutical companies.
The fact that XpertDox doesn’t use patient reviews—which tend to be unreliable—is especially important. XpertDox research—published in the Journal of the American Medical Association—found that patients treated by doctors with the highest patient reviews have a 26% higher chance of dying compared with those treated by physicians with low ratings.
Co-founded by cardiologist and data scientist, Dr. Sameer Ather, (who also has a PhD in clinical investigation and big data) and nephrologist and physician scientist, Dr. Bhupesh Panwar, XpertDox already has 30,000 visitors per month from all over the world, and 6,000 registered users. You can search the database by disease, procedure, or physician.
XpertDox, which went live in December of 2015, was born out of a passion to help patients with rare and serious diseases find personalized recommendations for their conditions. It empowers them with information specific to their condition, guiding them to seek the best possible care, and finally, it provides support by helping them connect to peers with similar conditions.
XpertDox has taken the next step of enrolling patients with rare diseases in ongoing clinical trials. Planned features will include the ability to book doctor appointments online as well as the provision of online consulting and social networking.
To review the site, I used the terms “Alzheimer’s” and “dementia.”
Information in the physician profiles: Each physician profile includes the physician’s address, phone number, gender, location, date of medical school graduation, hospital affiliation, top diseases that match his or her profile, links to the physician’s research articles’ abstracts, insurance accepted, and a map for directions to the doctor’s office. The profiles also list whether the physician participates in the Medicare Physician Quality Reporting System Improvement Program (PQRS). Some even include a photograph of the physician—a nice touch—and you can “like” individual doctors.
The profiles also include the percent match of the physician to the user’s individual disease. You can search for doctors nationwide or just for doctors practicing in your state or near your zip code.
Information on the hospital profiles: Hospital profiles include the address, phone number, top specialties and procedures that match the hospital’s profile, ownership, and ratings of the hospital’s performance on more than 30 items. As with physicians, you can search for hospitals nationwide or find ones in your state or near your zip code.
Information on the individual disease pages: The individual disease pages include extensive educational material about the disease. For example, the dementia page includes, among other things, an overview, epidemiology, types of dementia, treatment, and FDA-approved medications for dementia.
Other features are physicians’ answers to patients’ questions and information about clinical trials (if any) for the user’s specific disease. In addition, there are informational videos about some diseases—such as Lewy Body Dementia—and related blogs. Not all diseases have this feature as yet, but the plan is to have a video for each of the 6,000 diseases. This will take a few years, but will add tremendous value to the site.
Pluses of the Site:
- It contains an extremely large, mindboggling database, which is constantly updated. I looked up a few physicians with whom I’m familiar and found all the information was up-to-date.
- The site is easy to navigate.
- It does not rely on patient reviews. Instead, the physician ratings are based on each individual physician’s clinical experience, research, educational contributions, leadership role among peers, and recognition as an expert. These ratings are determined through a complex proprietary algorithm.
- It has excellent customer support. I tried it out and received an answer to my emailed technical question about using the site (sent from the “Contact Us” page) within an hour on a Saturday morning!
- It includes detailed educational material about each disease.
- There is no charge for using the site, which is funded by private investors. In conclusion, XpertDox is an excellent resource for those who need a personalized referral to the best physician specialized in Alzheimer’s or another disease.
Marie Marley is the author of Come Back Early Today: A Memoir of Love, Alzheimer’s and Joy, and co-author (with neurologist Daniel C. Potts, MD, FAAN) of Finding Joy in Alzheimer’s: New Hope for Caregivers. Her website (ComeBackEarlyToday.com) contains a wealth of information for Alzheimer’s caregivers.