Have you ever heard of an otolaryngologist? Chances are you have and don’t even realize it? An otolaryngologist, more commonly called an ENT (ear, nose, and throat) doctor, is the specialist that treats conditions affecting the (you guessed it) ear, nose and throat.
Did you know, that in 2010 alone, people in the U.S. made approximately 20 million visits to otolaryngologists? It’s true, and this number illustrates their important role in today’s medical landscape.
If your general physician has recently told you to make an appointment with an ENT, or if you believe you need this type of specialized treatment, then you need to start the search to find an ENT doctor.
What Issues do ENTs Treat?
Before diving into the specifics of how to find an ENT, you need to learn more about the treatments and services they provide.
These doctors specialize in the diagnosis and management of various diseases that affect the oral cavity, larynx, sinuses, upper pharynx, and the structures of your face and neck. These doctors provide treatment for both adults and children.
Some of the specific conditions offered including tinnitus, ear infections, swallowing issues, balance problems and more.
Now that you know what services ENTs provid, you understand why their care may be necessary. The next step is to find the right doctor for the job.
Some tips to help you find an ENT doctor are listed here.
Ask for Referrals
When it is time to find an ENT doctor, the best place to start your search is with your general physician. They will typically be able to provide you with the names of two to three individuals in your area.
You may also want to ask friends and family members for recommendations.
According to the professionals from Pacific View ENT, it’s important for you to research a service provider before scheduling an appointment. This will ensure you find someone who is right for your needs and treatment.
Research the Credentials of the ENT
Another important factor to consider when trying to find an ENT is if they have board certification. This lets you know the doctor has the proper experience, skills, and training to provide the services you need.
Also, make sure the ENT doesn’t have a history of disciplinary actions or malpractice claims. You can find all this information on various state websites.
Consider the ENT’s Past Experience
When treating or preventing any health condition experience matters. The more experience that an ENT has with a procedure or condition, the better your results will be.
Be sure to ask the surgeon if they have completed any subspecialty fellowship training related to your condition. Also, find out how many patients with your condition the ENT has treated.
If you already know the procedure you need, find out how many the doctor has performed, and find out about the complication rates. This can help you make an informed decision.
Research the Hospital Quality
The hospital your ENT doctor uses is the hospital you will use. As a result, you need to consider the quality of care provided at the hospital where your ENT can treat patients.
The hospital quality matters because patients going to top-rated hospitals have fewer complications and higher survival rates. Also, consider the location of the hospital. If you have to go there for treatments or testing, you need a location that’s nearby.
Evaluate the Doctor’s Communication Style
You need to find an ENT you are comfortable talking to and someone who supports your information needs. Upon your initial meeting, ask the doctor a question and observe how they respond.
Do they welcome your questions? Are they willing to answer them in a way you understand? Does the interaction feel engaged or rushed?
It’s important you find an ENT who’s interested in getting to know you and your concerns. This is the best way to build a relationship and develop a customized treatment plan.
Take a Look at Patient Satisfaction Surveys
It’s important to read what other people say about a doctor. This can provide insight into how the doctor practices medicine, as well as how they operate their medical practice.
A patient satisfaction survey will ask people about their experience with their visit. This includes office staff friendliness, the office environment, wait times and appointment scheduling.
Just by reading this information you can learn about whether or not patients trust the doctor, too, and how much time is spent with patients. This insight is invaluable and something you won’t learn from the doctor or office staff.
Know if Your Insurance will Cover the Care
If you have insurance, you need to make sure it will cover the visits to the ENT, along with the treatments provided. If you want to get the most benefits from your insurance and pay as little as possible out of your own pocket, then you need to find an ENT covered by your plan.
If your current plan doesn’t cover the services and care you need, you can also find a different policy.
Remember, it’s still important to consider their credentials, outcomes, experience and hospital quality.
How to Find an ENT Doctor: Now You Know
If you are beginning the process to find an ENT doctor, the tips here should help you with this important decision. Don’t rush this decision, as you need to ensure you receive the quality care necessary to handle the condition you are suffering from.
As you continue your search, remember, ultimately, the doctor you choose is going to be a partner in your health and well-being. You need to be comfortable with who you choose.
Our team is here to provide you with the tips and advice needed to find the doctor, business or service provider you need. For example, you can also check out our blog to learn how to find the best tutoring company for your child.