What should I consider when choosing a healthcare provider for my diabetes?

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Dr. John J. Connolly
Healthcare Insurance & Policy Specialist

Most primary care physicians, family practice or internal medicine specialists have experience managing and treating diabetes. However, it is always wise to consult with a doctor who is a specialist in endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism. They are specifically trained to treat diabetes. Again, make certain the doctor is board certified in that specialty.

Before you choose a diabetes care provider, you may want to schedule an appointment to talk with several candidates. Some healthcare professionals may charge an “interview fee,” so be sure to ask about this ahead of time.

Come to your interview with questions you would like answered. If necessary, write them down in advance and don’t be afraid to look at them during your interview. Write down answers to your questions during the interview, if need be.

You may want to get a sense of the practice from his or her staff and other patients. Is the office convenient enough for you to get to regular appointments? Maybe the closest endocrinologist is 50 miles away and you would like someone closer. In that case, you might want to find an internist or primary care practitioner with expertise in treating patients with diabetes. Are the provider’s current patients satisfied? Is it easy enough to get an appointment? Does the provider meet his or her appointments? Ask other people who see this provider. You can also contact the ADA for a list of recognized providers (www.diabetes.org) or receive referrals from a physician you know and trust. Your local hospital or community health organization may also provide referrals. Professional medical societies may provide recommendations as well. Is the office neat and clean? Is the staff polite? Are you accommodated at your scheduled appointment time or are you kept waiting? Are educational materials on display? Is there someone you can call with questions or concerns?

After the interview, take time to reflect on it. How did it feel? Were you comfortable with the practitioner? Did he or she seem concerned about you as an individual? Was the provider willing to work with you to achieve your health goals? Did you feel free to express your feelings? Did you feel that he or she was listening to you? Were you given sufficient time to get all your questions answered or did you feel rushed? Did the provider seem directive or nondirective—is he or she likely to tell you what to do or work with you to reach your goals?

Once you decide on a healthcare provider, establish a smooth line of communication by continuing to ask questions and speaking up about any concerns you may have about diabetes.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.