Finding the Right Health Care Professional

man talking to woman doctor

Choosing the right health care professional for you can be a confusing process, but it doesn’t have to be.

Rather than overwhelming yourself by jumping right into health care professional directories online, the best way to start is to get a reference from someone you know and trust.

Friends and family can help you narrow your search, but you also have to scrutinize that information. Make sure to go to medical professionals who are affiliated with reputable establishments. Once you have some references make sure that your health care professional is board certified to ensure quality care. If they are not board certified, then you should ask why not. These websites for the American Board of Internal Medicine(link opens in new window) and the American Board of Family Medicin(link opens in new window)e can provide information on board certification.

Communication is essential

One of the most important aspects of the health care professional-patient relationship is communication. You must be comfortable with your health care professional. Use this guide from the American Heart Association about preparing for your medical visit to help with that first conversation.

Communication is an essential part of an individual’s health and well-being. Effective communication enhances shared-decision making and patient-centered care and can help improve outcomes. Communication should be frequent, clear and timely. A health care professional should explain things in a way that you understand. If you meet someone who doesn’t match your communication style, you should switch.

Tips to find the right heart specialist

Coordinate with your primary health care professional:

It is important to have a primary health care professional for managing your overall health, but it’s also important because they can facilitate a referral to a cardiologist, or heart specialist. It’s best when you have a general practitioner organize and communicate all of the necessary information about a patient to their cardiologist.

Research their credentials:

  • Once you have a suggested specialist, research their credentials.
  • Confirm they have no history of malpractice or disciplinary actions. You may find this information on opens in new window) and state websites.
  • Consider their experience with conditions similar to your own.
  • Consider their gender as it’s important for you to feel comfortable with your specialist.
  • Read patient reviews to gain insight into other peoples’ experiences with the specialist.

Consultation appointment:

Once you have selected a specialist set up a consultation appointment. During that session ask questions about the specialist’s experience and evaluate their communication style to ensure it is compatible with yours.

Am I getting the best care possible?

Whether dealing with your primary-care health professional or your cardiologist, don’t hesitate to look elsewhere if you feel uncomfortable about their care or how they interact with you.

If you have questions about recommended  treatments, you should seek a second opinion. A few possible reasons for seeking a second opinion include:

  • You feel that their communication style does not match yours.
  • Your health care professional is not connecting with you.
  • Their medical recommendation involves an intervention that is risky or expensive and you are unsure of the reason you need it.

You should know that even good health care professionals do not always make the same recommendations. So, it is good to hear different viewpoints.

Overall, there are many qualified health care professionals – but you need to find the right fit for you.