Most patients looking for a urologist have received a referral from their primary care physicians (PCPs). That doesn’t mean they should just see the first urologist recommended by their PCPs, though. It’s important to find a specialist who’s a good fit, so patients should take their time and do their due diligence when it comes to research. Read on to find out how to get started.
Request a Referral List
When a PCP recommends that his or her patient see a urologist, the doctor will typically provide a referral list. The doctors and clinics on this list offer a good place to get started, but unless the patients’ insurance companies specifically stipulate that they see a doctor in a particular healthcare network, they aren’t obligated to see one of these urologists. Patients in South Strand, SC, are typically welcome to seek recommendations from friends, family members, and other healthcare providers as well.
Once patients have a list of available healthcare providers, they can start narrowing their options down by checking the doctors’ credentials. Find out what certifications they have, learn about their skills and specializations, and confirm that the urologist doesn’t have a history of disciplinary actions or medical malpractice claims. State websites are a good resource for checking credentials.
Ask About Insurance
Not every urologist in myrtle beach accepts all types of health insurance. Before getting any further into their searches, patients should call the offices of those urologists that look promising to ask which insurance plans they take. It’s also wise for those who aren’t completely clear on what their insurance policies cover to get in touch with their insurance agents to ask about covered services and healthcare networks in advance.
Patients who already know they’ll need specific procedures can ask about doctors’ experience performing those procedures. They should also find out about complication rates, including not just patient complications following the procedure but also complications faced by the doctor. Experienced urologists may not always be able to prevent surgical complications, but they’ll be better able to recognize them early and ensure the best patient outcomes.
Read Reviews and Testimonials
Just like other service providers, doctors can usually provide testimonials from former patients. Reading through these testimonials gives new patients a better idea of what to expect, but they shouldn’t stop there. Look up the urologist on third-party review websites to find out what previous and current patients have to say about their satisfaction levels with doctor-patient communication, ease of scheduling, wait times, and other important factors.
It’s important for patients to feel comfortable with their healthcare providers. This is especially true when it comes to urologists. Patients will have to openly discuss personal health information and undergo exams, which can be uncomfortable when working with providers of a different gender.
Some urologists offer gender-specific care. That may mean they specialize in treating enlarged prostates in men, stress incontinence in women, or other conditions that disproportionately affect one gender over the other. Patients should ask about the urologist’s training and experience in treating gender-specific Urology conditions and be realistic about their comfort levels when working with providers of the opposite gender.
Research Hospital Quality
Most PCPs will refer patients to doctors within the same hospital network. They don’t do it just to make things easier from an insurance standpoint. Ensuring that a patient is receiving all the care he or she needs in the same network can make it easier to arrange interdisciplinary consultations, keep track of complex conditions, and share medical records between providers.
Patients with chronic urological conditions should pay special attention to the reputation of the hospital or healthcare network’s urology department. They may need to go to the hospital for tests or treatment and may need to see physicians other than their primary urologists. When this is the case, knowing that the entire department has a reputation for excellence can improve patients’ confidence in their care.
Pay Attention to Communication Style
Still haven’t narrowed the list of potential urologists down to one that looks absolutely perfect? It’s fine to schedule appointments with multiple doctors. During an initial consultation, patients should pay attention to the urologists’ communication styles. A good urologist will welcome questions and never make patients feel rushed. He or she will take the time to get to know the patient and try to get an idea of his or her treatment preferences in advance.
What to Expect
Once they’ve chosen the right urologists, patients can move forward with their care plans. This process typically begins with a full medical exam and a discussion of the patient’s personal and family medical history. Patients should arrive at their exams with a complete list of all prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, and supplements they take and be prepared to discuss all of their underlying medical conditions whether they seem related or not.
In some cases, the urologist may be able to use the information garnered from a medical history review and a physical exam to make a diagnosis and suggest an appropriate treatment plan. In most cases, though, patients will be referred for additional testing at a later visit. These tests may involve checking hormone levels, blood counts, kidney function, and, for men, prostate-specific antigen counts. Urologists can also order imaging studies of the kidneys, bladder, or prostate and may recommend office-based procedures like cystoscopies, biopsies, or urodynamic testing.
Finding the right urologist takes some time, but it’s worth the extra effort. Patients who feel comfortable with their providers’ knowledge, skill levels, and their communication styles will be more likely to experience optimal outcomes no matter what underlying urological condition has sent them to the doctor’s office. Those looking into options in South Carolina should check out Atlantic Urology Clinics. Their many board-certified urologists have experience with treating everything from overactive bladder syndrome to prostate cancer and much more. Visit their website to learn more about this Myrtle Beach clinic or call (843) 347-2450 to schedule an initial consultation.