How do you choose a rheumatologist? Selecting a rheumatologist is dependent on several factors specific to your situation. Most significantly, researching a list of local rheumatologists will involve detailed, investigative research which you must conduct in order to have the best chance for a future recovery.
So what questions should you begin asking yourself to find the most ideal rheumatologist for you?
First, what is a rheumatologist?
To begin with, having an initial understanding of what a rheumatologist is will insure you’re in the correct medical field to begin with.
A rheumatologist (a subspecialty in the field of internal medicine) is a clinical specialist which treats diseases of a rheumatic nature.
What diseases constitute a rheumatic nature?
With over 200 types of rheumatic diseases, some examples which a rheumatologist can treat are osteoporosis, arthritis, painful musculoskeletal disorders, and some autoimmune conditions.
Can you get a recommendation for a rheumatologist from your general care practitioner?
This is an excellent starting point. Your general care doctor is knowledgeable of your past medical history, and can let you know which specialist to go to based on your specific case. If needed, your doctor can even speak directly with the rheumatologist he will recommend to discuss a specific course of treatment.
Can you get referrals from people you know?
Receiving referrals from people you know, such as coworkers, neighborhood friends and family members gives you the ability to ask about their personal experiences. You’ll have a deeper view of a doctor’s personality, his or her bedside mannerisms, and the outcome of previous patients.
Accommodating office and weekend hours?
You’ll need to weigh your options of visiting after daily work hours or at the weekend. Will the doctor be able to fit you into his office schedule?
What are the doctor’s qualifications and experience?
Certifications and qualifications of rheumatologists are easily searchable. An internet search should tell you what the doctor has accomplished academically, and this will most likely include a brief work history to give you an idea as to where he gained his previous medical experience.
Choosing a rheumatologist must not be done haphazardly. Your selection will affect your healing and recovery, so it is critical you perform the above queries to arrive at the most practical decision.
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