As part of his efforts to improve Illinois families' access to quality health care, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich has announced the launch of a new physician profile feature available to the public at www.IDFPR.com, the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation's Web site. The new feature allows health care consumers to review important information about the professional and disciplinary background of 44,000 physicians and surgeons licensed to practice in Illinois.

"It is not enough to make sure every Illinois family has access to health care. We need to make sure that people have enough information to make informed decisions about the doctors who treat them. This new online tool will provide valuable assistance for patients as they choose their healthcare providers," said Governor Blagojevich.

The search engine is easy to use and allows health care consumers to search by the physician's name, specialty, geographic region or hospital affiliation. The program also allows consumers to compare several doctors with similar specialties. State Representative Mary Flowers has been a leading advocate of the creation of the physician profile search tool.

"This physician profile search engine is exactly what I had hoped we could provide for Illinois consumers," said State Rep. Flowers. "With these tools, each of us will be able to learn about our doctors' education, training and any disciplines or judgments against them -- all of which can help us make the best possible choice when deciding who should provide our health care."

Over 85 percent of all licensed physicians and surgeons have provided the information necessary to create their profile in categories that include: the location and scope of practice, the type of insurance the physician accepts, specialties and certifications, legal and disciplinary actions taken against the physician, his or her educational background and any professional activities or honors the physician would like to add. Physicians' licenses are subject to renewal in July 2008. Before a license is renewed, physicians must provide the information for their profiles.