How to Choose the Best Specialist Doctor in 2019 : In 2014, one-third of US physicians were general practitioners. In comparison, 50% of physicians in the US were general practitioners in 1961.
This significant change is largely related to the fact that more medical professionals are pursuing and practicing specialties. And with more specialists to choose from, it’s becoming even more difficult to choose a doctor.
Unless you know how to find the best doctor in a field.
Luckily, we’ve gathered these tips for you. Read this before booking your next specialist appointment.
How to Find the Best Doctor in a Field 101: What Type of Doctor Do You Need?
Today, there are more than 860,000 physicians certified by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). The ABMS handles certification for the 37 approved specialties and 86 subspecialties recognized in the US. With more than 40,000 specialty and subspecialty certificates awarded every year, that’s a lot of doctors to choose from.
That’s why the first step in how to find the best doctor in field 101 is to know what kind of specialist you need. Do you need a urologist, a dermatologist, or functional medicine practitioner? To find the specialty you need, you’ll a clear idea of your symptoms.
But it’s true that many specialists treat the same symptoms. Back pain, for example, could be treated by any number of specialists.
To truly narrow it down, you should know what the underlying cause of the symptom. And if you don’t have the answer to that question, you should begin your journey with a trip to your primary care physician.
Check Your Insurance Provider
An often overlooked but very important step in how to find the best doctor in a field is checking with your health insurance plan. This will tell you who you’re covered to see, which will narrow down your options significantly.
Your insurance agent can tell you what specialists you’re covered for and what providers are in your network. You should also ask them about whether you’ll incur out-of-pocket costs for seeing a specialist.
Ask for Recommendations
Recommendations from family and friends are always helpful. Make sure to ask them for specific reasons why they liked or disliked a specialist. And if you’re interested in one they recommend, make sure they’re in your network.
Use that same list when getting recommendations from your primary care physician. They can go through the list with you and tell you a bit about the specialists they know or know of. If you trust your physician, then you can trust their judgment when it comes to knowing how to find the best doctor in a field.
And for even more recommendations, head online.
Do Your Research
Look into the educational background, certification, and reputation of the specialists you’re interested in. You’ll want to be sure that your specialist is board-certified to practice their specialty.
Although a piece of paper doesn’t guarantee a good specialist, you can rest assured that they’ve received rigorous training. Board certification is achieved after four years of med school, a three to five-year residency program, and a written exam. A subspecialist has one to five years of training on top of that, plus another written exam.
Make an Appointment
Make an appointment and sit down with the specialist. You won’t really know if they’re for you until you meet them and speak to them about your issues.
You may also consider things like how long it took to get the appointment and the manner of the stuff. But ultimately, you want the best care you can get, and that should be your top priority in the final decision.
All Things Your Health
When you need to know how to find the best doctor in a field, your first step is knowing what kind of specialist you need and whether they’re covered by your insurance. After that, you can gather recommendations, look online, and do your research on the specialist’s background and reputation. But before you go making a final decision, be sure you meet the person who will be providing your care.
And for more information on all thing related to your health, check out our health and wellness blog.
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