8 Tips for Choosing a Urologist

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    A Personal Decision
    If you’re like most patients looking for a urologist, your primary care doctor has recommended that you see one. A urologist will guide you through many decisions about protecting your urinary tract health or treating a urinary tract disease, disorder or condition. How do you find the best urologist who is right for you? Here are some important factors to keep in mind.

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    1. Get Referrals
    Start by asking your primary care doctor for a referral list of urologists. 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. Once you've narrowed down your list, schedule an appointment with the urologist who appears best able to help you.

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    2. Research the Urologist’s Credentials
    Board certification is one of the most important factors to consider when you are choosing a urologist. It tells you that the doctor has the needed training, skills and experience to provide urologic care. Also confirm that the urologist has no history of malpractice claims or disciplinary actions. You can find the urologist’s medical school, training hospital, certifications, and malpractice and disciplinary history on Healthgrades.com and state websites.

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    3. Consider the Urologist’s Experience
    Experience matters when you’re choosing a urologist. The more experience a urologist has with a condition or procedure, the better your results are likely to be. Ask how many patients with your specific condition the urologist 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. Experienced urologists are best able to prevent surgical complications or promptly recognize and manage them.

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    4. Consider Gender
    It is important for you to feel comfortable with your urologist’s gender because you will need to openly discuss personal information. Urologists may specialize in male- and female-specific urologic conditions, such as enlarged prostate in men and stress incontinence in women. Ask the urologist about his or her recent training and experience specifically related to your condition and your gender.

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    5. Research Hospital Quality
    Your doctor’s hospital is your hospital. For this reason, consider the quality of care at the hospital where the urologist can treat patients. Hospital quality matters to you because patients at top-rated hospitals have fewer complications and better survival rates. Additionally, consider whether the hospital’s location is important to you. Should you need to go the hospital for tests or treatment, you want the location to encourage, rather than discourage timely care.

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    6. Evaluate Communication Style
    Choose a urologist with whom you are comfortable talking and who supports your information needs. When you first meet the urologist, 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? Find a urologist who shows an interest in getting to know you, who will consider your treatment preferences, and who will respect your decision-making process.

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    7. Read Patient Reviews
    Reading 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 ask people about their experience with scheduling appointments, wait times, office environment, and office friendliness. You can learn about how well patients trust the doctor, how much time he or she spends with their patients, and how well he or she answers questions.

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    8. Know What Your Insurance Covers
    Your 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 a urologist who participates in your plan. You should still consider credentials, experience, outcomes, and hospital quality as you select a urologist from your plan.

8 Tips for Choosing a Urologist
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