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How to Find Quality Doctors in Mexico

Updated: Apr 3

For those of you who read my last post on expat health options in Mexico, welcome back.


Whether you decide to buy health insurance valid in Mexico or not, another challenge all expats face is finding local doctors to care for you in your time of need.



In your home country, you might turn to family members and close friends for doctor recommendations. But if you're new to a city (and country!) this probably isn't an option for you.


Since this was our situation when we first moved to Guadalajara, I resorted to a mixture of old-school networking and digital technology to find our first medical providers.


On the networking side, I turned to the expat community where we live. For "female" needs, I sought out recommendations from a women-only online expat forum here in Guadalajara ("Women in Guadalajara" on FB). I received multiple enthusiastic referrals to local providers, oftentimes with addresses and phone numbers.


Through that group, I was fortunate to connect with Dra. Pandey, a bilingual physician practicing in Colonia Providencia with a degree from Harvard Medical School. She's one of the best doctors I've ever had -- and if you can believe it, works until 8 PM on Fridays, as well as Saturday mornings. Are you kidding me?


Even if you don't like spending time on social media, it might be worth making an exception in this case. Leveraging expat forums in your new city can be one of the easiest and fastest ways to finding quality doctors, particularly those who are fluent in English.


Another group of foreign residents I met through a coffee meetup introduced me to a popular Mexican website called Doctoralia, which specializes in helping people find local doctors. The site covers all major cities in Mexico, e.g. Guadalajara, Mexico City, and Monterrey, as well as some smaller ones like Zapopan, Puebla, Leon, and Tijuana.


Whether you need an allergist, cardiologist, or something mre exotic, Doctoralia allows you to search for doctors by city or by specialty, read patient reviews, see office hours and contact info, read doctor bios, make appointments, and see pricing for consultations (!) all in one place.


Coming from the opaque and hard-to-navigate world of U.S. healthcare, I found the transparency of this website to be mind-blowing. In the space of 30 minutes, it's possible to find a doctor, read patient reviews, and get an appointment on the books.


Doctoralia is especially useful for expats who may dread calling medical offices to make appointments knowing the person on the receiving end only speaks Spanish.


Even better, there's no mountain of paperwork to fill out or weeks-long wait for an appointment, in most cases. This website helped me find a specialist for my husband last year when we were still new in town.


Once we started to make Mexican friends, I began getting personal recommendations from doctors' current or former patients. In our circle of tennis and futbol-playing friends, we've been connected to plenty of doctors who repair and rehab shoulders, ankles, and knees.


To be honest, natives in your new city are your best resource, especially if you've chosen a town that Doctoralia doesn't cover, or a place with few expats to show you the ropes.


Other Ways to Find Quality Doctors


Insurance brokers. It seems like every time I turn around these days I meet someone else in Guadalajara selling health insurance as a side hustle. Next to real estate, this has to be one of the easiest professions to enter.


Since brokers interact with local providers regularly, they know a lot of practitioners. If you used a local broker to buy your health insurance policy, it's worth asking them for advice on finding doctors if you've exhausted the other options I've shared above.


Ask doctors! Once you've found at least one physician you trust, don't overlook them as a source of quality leads. Unlike up north where doctors race through appointments at a breakneck pace because their schedules are jam-packed, doctors in Mexico spend quality time with their patients, talking through your history, current concerns, and so on.


Ask them for their recommendations on top providers in related specialties. In my case Dra. Pandey has been a great source of new contacts.


Medical concierge. For residents of Guadalajara, Zapopan, and Lake Chapala, you could also avail yourself of the services of a local medical concierge named Lori Payne. I've not consulted her directly on practitioners and have no idea what she charges. But Lori comes highly recommended by many expats here, and even turned me onto a solid handyman! You can find her on Facebook.


Conclusion


To recap, here are the top methods for finding quality doctors once arriving in Mexico:

  • Your local expat community (if there is one) - either in person or via online forums

  • Doctoralia

  • Mexican friends and natives of your new city

  • Doctors (once you find one you trust) can be a great source of referrals to specialists they know and respect

  • A local health insurance broker or concierge

Take care of yourselves out there!


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