A simple diagnosis of needing to see a cardiologist can be alarming. Like most patients, you were recommended to see a heart specialist by your primary care physician. What are the steps to finding the Best Houston Cardiologist for you? Here are some points to consider.
Referrals can be obtained from your primary care physician. Other healthcare professionals and family members may have suggestions as well. Do some research on the doctors’ experience and credentials at Healthgrades.com. Once you narrow down your list, call the offices of each cardiologist to arrange a consultation appointment.
2. Research the credentials of the physician
An important component of the selection process is the doctor’s board certification, which certifies his or her competence, skill, and experience in the field of cardiology. Check to make sure the cardiologist has never been found negligent or disciplined.
On Healthgrades.com and state websites, you can find out about the physician’s medical school, his or her training hospital, certifications, malpractice, and disciplinary history.
3. Consider the experience of the cardiologist
Experience matters when it comes to the health of your heart. Your treatment results are likely to be better if your cardiologist has experience with your condition or procedure. It is also helpful to have fellowship training in a particular subspecialty.
You may want to inquire about the number of patients that the cardiologist has treated with your specific condition. You should ask your cardiologist how many procedures he or she has performed, as well as how many complications he or she has encountered along the way.
4. Keep gender in mind
As you will need to discuss personal information with your cardiologist, it is important that you feel comfortable with his or her gender. If you have a specific condition or gender, ask the cardiologist about the recent training and experience that he or she has.
Increasingly, cardiologists are specializing in treating women with heart disease and identifying risk factors, and some hospitals have specialized women’s heart centers.
5. Hospital Quality Research
Hospitals run by doctors are hospitals run by patients. Consider this when choosing a hospital where cardiologists can treat patients. Top-rated hospitals receive fewer complications and have better survival rates, so quality matters to you.
You should perform your research because two hospitals within walking distance might have different patient outcomes. You should also consider how important the location of the hospital is to you. You want your hospital room to encourage timely treatment rather than discourage it should you need tests or treatment.
6. Assess communication style
Make sure you choose a cardiologist with who you feel comfortable speaking and who you feel can provide you with information. Ask the cardiologist a question and pay attention to their response. Are your questions welcomed and answered in a way that you can understand? Discover a cardiologist who takes the time to get to know you, considers your treatment preferences and respects your decision-making process.
7. Check outpatient reviews
You can gain insight into a doctor’s practice and how his or her medical practice is run by reading what other people have said about him or her. Patients’ reviews usually reflect how they felt about scheduling appointments, waiting times, the office environment, and the friendliness of the staff.
Find out what people think about a doctor’s level of trust, how much time he or she spends with their patients, and how well they answer questions.
8. Understand what your insurance covers
Practically speaking, your insurance coverage matters. Your insurance plan may require you to choose a cardiologist who participates in your plan if you would like the best benefit and lowest out-of-pocket costs.
As you select a cardiologist from your health plan, you should consider credentials, experience, outcomes, and hospital quality