Choosing a Doctor

Today’s surgical advancements are developing at an astounding rate. As a result, it’s important to choose your doctor wisely to insure you are getting the best possible benefits of the latest technological improvements, performed by a proven and trusted physician . The quality of care you receive is completely up to you. Bad healthcare does not choose you, you choose it.

While healthcare in the United States is held to high standards, individual doctors’ treatment plans vary. When choosing a doctor, keep in mind you are choosing quality of care. Read through this article to better understand how to navigate the healthcare system and make an educated decision when choosing your doctor.

The modern day medical field is divided into distinct categories. For instance, orthopedic surgeons used to treat hip, knee, shoulder, foot, hand, and spine issues. While some orthopedic surgeons still treat a variety of orthopedic issues, most orthopedic surgeons, especially in larger cities prefer to concentrate their practice in one or two areas . These specialized doctors are called super-specialists. When researching a physician, an individual with spine problems should see a doctor who specializes in spine conditions and treatments. The super-specialist will have more experience within the area they practice. With increased knowledge and skill in their specific field these doctors are more likely to be proficient in the latest technological advances. By choosing a super specialist you will gain the confidence from the onset of treatment (your diagnosis) that your overall care will be handled by a physician skilled in a specific discipline and not that of a general orthopedic surgeon.

It is important that your spine surgeon is board certified and fellowship trained in spine from a distinguished facility. The top spine surgeons are orthopedic spine surgeons who are fellowship trained in the area of spine surgery. In addition to the usual surgical residency requirements, these surgeons will have completed a fellowship program in spine which includes at least one additional year of training specific to spine surgery. Having a fellowship trained spine surgeon is key to receiving the most educated and skilled surgical treatment. When asking their doctors, some patients are surprised to find out that many spine surgeons are neither fellowship trained or even board certified.

Ask your doctor about his experience with the most recent techniques and innovations in spine surgery and how many of these procedures has he performed.

Be Wary Of Health Insurance Guidance.

Most insurance companies are not privy to helping find the best doctor for you. Some insurance companies have a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO). This list indicates that those specific doctors have made a deal with the insurance company to receive discounted rates from the insurance company. These doctors are not chosen on a quality basis (which does not necessarily indicate they are bad quality either).

Many physicians that are in high demand (including super-specialists) are not as inclined to be included on the PPO. High demand doctors usually have much busier schedules. Some insurance companies have out of network options that allow the patient to see a doctor that is not on the PPO list. In these cases, the patient may have to pay more for a non PPO physician. However, ultimately it is more advantageous to go to the physician who is the best in their field, skilled in the latest techniques and less invasive approaches.

The Excellence Of A Second Opinion.

Some insurance providers require a second opinion for major procedures. This is the best thing a patient can do for themselves when in this situation. When visiting a physician for a second opinion, it is important to not divulge that you are there for a second opinion. It’s better if the doctor is able to start from a clean slate. This allows them to give the best advice for treatment. When a patient receives two of the same opinions for treatment, they are more able to proceed with confidence in the chosen approach. However, if two physicians disagree, it’s important to further your research on the doctors’ qualifications. A third opinion is also a recommended approach in extreme cases.

Meeting And Traveling.

Upon meeting your chosen doctor, it is important to ask every question you have. If a doctor is unwilling or hesitant to answer your questions regarding your treatment or diagnosis, do not waste your time. Providing all appropriate treatment options (surgical and non-surgical) for a patient’s diagnosis is the tell of the best specialists. Make sure your physician is willing and ready to educate you.

In some cases, the best doctors may not be close to you. Medical centers that focus on super-specialist niches are becoming more common, but they can also be expensive to build. It is important to be willing to travel in order to find the best super-specialist.

Good Doctors Deserve Good Patients.

The search for a good doctor can be exhausting, but when you have confidence in the fact that your chosen doctor is the best – the rest is up to you. Miracle surgeries and magical pills are not always the answer, and you have researched your doctor well. Trust them. Make sure to follow the doctor’s orders regarding prescriptions and recommendations. Surgery is not always best, and a good doctor is aware of that. Listen and more importantly try to understand your doctor and their reasonings.

Non surgical treatments should be pursued first. Often times patients fall short of complying with directions, which can cause a perfectly good non surgical treatment to fail. Whether it be therapy, exercise, or medicine, make sure you understand and are willing to commit to these treatments. It can mean the difference between surgery and recovery. Though it may be hard, it can be the most beneficial.