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LNCtips.com: 5 Ways to Find Subspecialist Experts


Subspecialist experts are individuals with particular expertise within a narrow field of study. Some subspecialists, such as child neurologists, aren't too difficult to locate. But what about the types of physicians outlined below?

  • An ER physician who specializes in treating patients with evolving strokes.

  • An oncologist who limits his or her practice solely to cancer of the breast.

  • A pediatric oncologist who has treated patients with histiocytosis X.

  • Locating these types of subspecialist physician experts can be a challenge, but mastering the search process is an important LNC skill. Let me tell you five different ways to find them.

    1) The easiest way to locate any expert is to ask an LNC colleague. For example, I work in a defense law firm, and I occasionally ask a colleague in another defense law firm for names of subspecialist experts. I have also posted requests on the LNCExchange Listserve, and I've contacted LNCs with whom I've worked on AALNC projects. Of course, I always try to reciprocate when those LNCs need to find an expert. In addition, I have seen many requests for subspecialist experts in LinkedIn discussion forums. Asking your colleagues for help is easy, but you'll look like a freeloader if you overuse this option. This should be your last option, not your first.

    2) Use Google Scholar to identify key concepts about the plaintiff's medical condition. Then review journal articles and identify the authors. Google the authors' names and locate their contact information, if not given in the article. Contact the authors and inquire if they have done expert work. If they don't work as experts, ask for names of their colleagues who might provide this type of service. I found a pediatric oncologist with histiocytosis X experience using this method.

    3) Identify guidelines related to the patient's medical condition and identify the authors. Then use the process outlined above to locate an expert. I used this method to locate an ER physician with expertise in the early management of acute stroke.

    4) Check out the online physician directories of major medical centers, specialty hospitals, and teaching hospitals, then use the process outlined above. Most hospitals have short biographies of their staff physicians. I found a breast oncology expert using this method.

    5) Locate membership lists of professional organizations. For example, the Child Neurology Society has a list of its members, which is supposed to be accessible only to its members. However, I was able to obtain the membership list because it was posted on the internet. I used this method to locate a child neurologist expert.

    Notice that I left out expert directories. Using them to find subspecialty physician physicians is also an option, although some firms won't work with experts who advertise their services.

    If methods two through five seem like more work than the first one, you're right. If you charge your client for finding experts, you might want to alter your fee schedule to reflect the additional time it takes to locate subspecialty experts.

    Finding subspecialist physician experts may be time-consuming, but it isn't hard. The next time you need to locate an endovascular neurosurgery expert, a psychiatry expert who has served as the medical director of a detoxification center, or any other physician subspecialist expert, you'll be all set!

    ...Katy Jones