You can find a cardiologist or heart surgeon by asking for a referral from your primary care physician, family members, or friends. You shouldn’t assume that just because you’ve gotten a referral from your current doctor, this new doctor will automatically be great. There are hundreds of potential reasons behind the referral, ranging from the two of them being Friday night poker pals to being longtime partners in the operating room. The point is that you just don’t know until you ask.
The following list includes questions to ask in two scenarios. Use questions 1, 2, and 11 when talking with someone with medical expertise. Use all eleven questions when you are getting the referral from current patients, friends, or family members - your peers. And be sure to find out first if this prospective doctor honors your medical insurance and takes new patients.
- Why are you recommending this doctor?
- How well do you know him or her?
- How satisfied are you with this doctor? In your opinion, what are this doctor’s strengths and areas that need improvement?
- How well did this doctor communicate with you?
- How well has this doctor kept you informed and encouraged you to ask questions?
- Did this doctor openly respect your opinions and decisions? Did you ever feel the doctor was talking down to you?
- How well did this doctor support you and your healing process after surgery and over time?
- When your partner, family members, or friends accompanied you on office visits, did this doctor also include them in the discussion?
- How accessible was this doctor or office staff after hours or on short notice?
- How well did this doctor’s office staff treat you? Did you ever feel frustrated because of office inefficiency or long wait times to see the doctor?
- Do you trust this doctor enough to send your own family to her?
Don’t hesitate to ask these questions. So much is at stake. Having a top doctor will make all the difference in your care. Soon you’ll talk directly to this new doctor. But for now, don’t skip this important preliminary step of getting a quality referral.
More Answers from Dede Bonner