Whether it’s a minor outpatient procedure or a serious surgery that could mean life or death, choosing the right surgeon is an important decision that you shouldn’t take lightly. Unfortunately, it can also be a difficult decision when you don’t know which factors to consider or how to find the right information. Knowing how to sort through these challenges will help you get the care you need.
6 Tips for Choosing the Best Surgeon
If you’ve never had a surgical procedure, you probably don’t know that you have choices when it comes to things like hospitals and surgeons – but you most certainly do! While the healthcare facility is obviously important, the surgeon is ultimately the one who will be handling the procedure.
Here are some tips to help you choose the right individual for the job:
1. Confirm Credentials
The very first thing you should do when considering a surgeon is to confirm credentials. The Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) can provide information about licensure in your state – as well as some other pertinent details.
You’ll also want to make sure that a surgeon is certified and eligible in a particular specialty. In order to receive certification, the surgeon must first go through lengthy training and exams. You can check on this by visiting CertificationMatters.org.
2. Research Past Issues and Reprimands
“Unfortunately, preventable medical errors injure and kill thousands of people each year,” The Colleran Firm points out. “Knowing some of the most common types of errors can prepare you to stay alert during all health-related conversations and prevent these errors from happening to you or your loved ones.”
In addition to knowing the risks you face, you should also know that some surgeons are involved in medical errors, malpractice, and reprimands more than others. You can learn a lot about a surgeon’s reputation and skillset by digging around. One thing you can do is order a disciplinary history of specific doctors in your state. The FSMB will do this for a small $9 fee.
3. Review Ratings and Reviews
Surgeons are essentially service providers. The service they offer may be more important than something like plumbing or home security, but it’s a service, nonetheless. And just like any service provider, surgeons are rated and reviewed by customers (patients) online. Reading through these reviews and ratings can give you a good idea of whether or not people recommend particular surgeons.
4. Ask for Referrals
Do you have a trusted friend, family member, or colleague in the medical community? Do you know someone who knows someone? Leveraging your personal network may help you get referrals for top surgeons in your area. If nothing else, you can rest easy knowing you’re getting sound advice.
5. Consider Relevant Experience
It’s one thing to be a board certified surgeon. It’s another to actually have experience performing a particular procedure. Relevant experience is much more important than book smarts. Take this into account when evaluating surgeons.
6. Think About Insurance
The final thing you have to consider is insurance. Surgeons sometimes only accept certain types of insurance. On the flip side, your insurance provider may only cover surgeries performed in a particular network. It’s best to think about these little caveats on the front end so that you’re aware of your options (financially speaking).
Don’t Settle for Anything But the Best
While your choices may be limited by things like location, insurance, and scheduling, the surgeon you select is ultimately your decision. Whether it’s a minor procedure or life-altering surgery, don’t settle for anything but the best.