What makes a cardiologist the right one for you? The doctor/patient relationship is a personal one, so it is critical you make smart choices. It may boil down to trial and error, but there are some things you can look for during your search. Consider key indicators that this is the right cardiac specialist to help you manage your heart disease.
Ask for Recommendations
Online directories offer clinical details about a doctor, but that is a two-dimensional view of a practitioner. Word of mouth is one of the best marketing tools a physician has, so ask around to see what heart doctors your family and friends use. Your primary care physician can also recommend a specialist.
Evaluate the Bedside Manner
Communication is the pivot point of a good relationship. During your visit, evaluate how the doctor discusses your condition with you. Are critical terms like cardiac arrest defined for you? Do you understand what is going with your body? Are your questions being answered in a clear and concise manner? If you leave that office with more questions than answers, look for another specialist.
Verify the Credentials
The Internet eliminates the guesswork. Health care consumers can now go online and verify a physician’s credentials prior to making an appointment. You want a cardiac specialist that is board-certified. Organizations such as the American Board of Medical Specialties and the American Board of Family Medicine will verify a doctor’s credentials for you.
Look for Networking Partners
A cardiologist associated with a large group or a medical facility has better opportunities for consultation. This way the doctor can get another opinion if unsure of something or you can request a second doctor evaluate your condition. A sole practitioner has limited options. If a consultation is necessary, it might mean making an appointment to see another doctor or a trip to the hospital.
Measure the Convenience
The right cardiologist will be easily accessible to you, so your appointments are comfortable and timely. How close is the office to your home, for example? Is it easy to get appointments with this doctor or do you end up waiting weeks for a visit?
Find a Specialist with a Specialty
The cardiac speciality is a vast one, so you can afford to look for a doctor that focuses on your type problem. For example, if you suffer from hypertension, look for a physician that specializes in that condition.
Finally, it comes down to how well you relate to the heart doctor. If you feel uneasy for any reason, then keep looking. There is no reason to add to your stress by seeing a cardiac specialist who makes you uncomfortable.