Naturally, the physician’s credentials are important. Cardiologists are certified in various subspecialties, such as nuclear or interventional cardiology. These credentials are an important thing to consider.
One of the best places to find a physician with the credentials you are looking for is with your state’s medical board. Here, you will find information on the doctor’s training hospital, medical school, specialties, certifications, malpractice settlements (if any) and disciplinary history.
Consider physicians with FACC (Fellow of the American College of Cardiology) listed after their name. Physicians who are a part of this fellowship are among the leading heart specialists in the United States based their contribution to the community, achievements they have earned and recommendations from their peers.
The heart doctor’s location is another important thing to consider. Remember, when you choose a doctor, you’re also choosing a hospital. Consider the reputation and quality of the hospital’s cardiology department. There are several services that provide statistics on cardiac care in various hospitals across the country.
It may be tempting to choose a heart doctor from the biggest and most well-known hospital, but this may not necessarily meet your needs. A smaller practice may be able to provide you with care that better suits your needs. In other words, bigger is not always better.
The cardiologist that you choose should be experienced with cases similar to yours. He or she needs to be proficient in the heart procedure or technology that you are considering. Be sure to ask potential doctors about their experience. Find out how many times they have performed a surgery or procedure you are a candidate for. Your chances of success will increase greatly if you choose a doctor who performs the procedure regularly.
Experience and credentials go a long way, but having a personal rapport with your physician is almost as important. Consider the physician’s willingness to answer your questions and how comfortable you feel with him or her. If you do not feel comfortable asking questions, or the cardiologist does not make you feel as if your problems are the focus of his or her attention during your visit, then you may want to consider choosing a different heart doctor.
5. Your Insurance
Finally, you need to consider whether or not the hospital or practice will accept your insurance. Also, find out whether or not they will file the insurance claims for you and what types of payments they accept.