8 Tips for Choosing an Endocrinologist
- A Personal DecisionKnowing that you need to see an endocrinologist can be worrisome. You will depend on your endocrinologist’s knowledge and expertise to manage hormonal or glandular conditions that often affect many body systems. How do you find the best endocrinologist who is right for you? Here are some important factors to keep in mind.
- 1. Get ReferralsStart with the referral list from your primary care doctor. You can also ask family, friends, and other healthcare providers for recommendations. Take the time to research the doctors’ credentials and experience on Healthgrades.com. As you narrow down your list, call each endocrinologist’s office and ask for a consult appointment to meet and interview the doctor.
- 2. Research the Endocrinologist’s CredentialsBoard certification is one of the most important factors to consider when you are choosing an endocrinologist. It tells you that the doctor has the necessary training, skills and experience to provide healthcare in endocrinology. Also confirm that the endocrinologist has no history of malpractice claims or disciplinary actions. You can find the endocrinologist’s medical school, training hospital, certifications, and malpractice and disciplinary history on Healthgrades.com and state websites.
- 3. Consider the Endocrinologist’s ExperienceWhen it comes to specialized medical care for endocrine or glandular conditions, the more experience a doctor has, the better your results are likely to be. Ask how many patients with your specific condition the endocrinologist has treated. If you know you need a specific procedure, ask how many of the procedures the doctor has performed and find out about complication rates—complications the doctor has encountered as well as your own risk of complications.
- 4. Consider GenderIt’s important to feel comfortable with your endocrinologist’s gender because you will need to openly discuss personal information. Your own gender is also an important consideration when it comes to endocrinology because of sex hormones and other differences. Endocrinologists are becoming more skilled in caring for women and men differently. Ask the endocrinologist about his or her recent training and experience specifically related to your condition and your gender.
- 5. Ask About Telehealth CapabilitiesHealthcare providers can diagnose and treat some patients using telecommunications technology, including two-way video, smartphones, and email; it's called telehealth. Ask if the doctor offers telehealth capabilities. Telehealth doesn’t replace hands-on in-person office visits, but for many patients, it means fewer trips to the doctor’s office. Some conditions can be managed by sending symptoms and vital signs you collect at home and having a “virtual visit” with your provider. Telehealth can also be used for routine follow-ups and minor complaints too, making it a convenient option. Check to make sure your health insurance will pay for telehealth services.
- 6. Evaluate Communication StyleChoose an endocrinologist with whom you are comfortable talking and who supports your information needs. When you first meet the endocrinologist, ask a question and notice how he or she responds. Does he or she welcome your questions and answer them in ways that you can understand? After your appointment, think about it you felt rushed or engaged. Find an endocrinologist who shows an interest in getting to know you, who will consider your treatment preferences, and who will respect your decision-making process.
- 7. Read Patient ReviewsReading what other people have to say about a doctor can provide insight into how a doctor practices medicine, as well as how his or her medical practice is operated. Patient reviews typically reflect people's experience with scheduling appointments, wait times, office environment, and office staff friendliness. You can learn how well patients trust the doctor, how much time he or she spends with their patients, and how well he or she answers questions.
- 8. Know What Your Insurance CoversYour insurance coverage is a practical matter. To receive the most insurance benefits and pay the least out-of-pocket for your care, you may need to choose an endocrinologist who participates in your plan. You should still consider credentials, experience, outcomes, and hospital quality as you select an endocrinologist from your plan.
8 Tips for Choosing an Endocrinologist