When your health is on the line, you don’t want to randomly choose an ENT surgeon from a list of names available online and hope for the best. Finding the right ENT specialist doesn’t need to be an overwhelming task when you follow these tips from Broward ENT Services. Your search may take a little time, but in the end, you’ll feel confident in your decision.

Here are some steps to follow:

Check with your health insurance provider

It’s important to be sure your health insurance provider will cover your ENT costs, and they’ll only do that if your ENT surgeon participates with their plan. Either call your health insurance provider or go to their website and get the names of their ENT surgeons.

You’ll also want to find out whether your insurance company requires you to have a referral to an ENT.

Get referrals from your primary care physician, friends, or your local hospital

You can start your search online, but you may be more comfortable getting leads on ENT surgeons from people you already know and trust.

Primary care physician

Ask your primary care physician (PCP) for a referral. When ENT surgeons are recommended by their peers, you know they have an outstanding reputation for high-quality care.

Family and friends

If you have family or friends who have used an ENT surgeon, ask them about their experience and if they’d give their doctor a good reference.

Call your local hospital

Many hospitals offer a service to help you select a physician. When you call, they can help by screening according to office location and the types of insurance plans accepted by each physician.

Use one or all of these methods to put together a short list of possible ENT surgeons. If you want more options, you can always go online.

Check online information

You may simply search for ENTs in your area, or you can check out a website like Healthgrades, which publishes detailed information about doctors, including their specialty, education, board certification, and reviews from patients.

Research the credentials of each doctor on your list

It’s essential to be sure your ENT surgeon is board certified because it means they’ve had a specific level of training and experience. To become board certified, doctors must have five years of training beyond their four years in medical school, and they must pass an examination.

You can determine whether the ENT specialist you’re considering is board certified by going to the website of the American Board of Otolaryngology and searching for the doctor’s name.

Research the location and quality of the hospital

Each doctor practices at a specific hospital or, in some cases, more than one hospital. The quality of the hospital where you’ll go for surgery is just as important as the skill and experience of your doctor.

If you’re in an area with one hospital, you may not have a choice. But if you have options and you prefer one hospital over another, then you need to know whether your doctor has privileges at that hospital. The hospital should also be accredited by The Joint Commission, which reviews and rates hospitals on their quality and safety.

Now it’s time for your personal evaluation

Once your research is finished and you have the names of a doctor or two, it’s time to meet them. Some doctors may schedule a short initial appointment so that you can get to know them. Others may ask you to schedule a regular appointment.

At your first meeting, ask the ENT surgeon how many times they’ve performed the surgical procedure you may need. Beyond education and training, one of the most important ways to predict the best possible results is by the experience of your surgeon in that specific procedure.

You may also want to ask if the doctor had fellowship training in ENT surgery. Fellowship training is a privilege granted to the best doctors, giving them the opportunity to get an additional year of in-depth and highly specialized training.

Another good way to get additional insight is to ask about the complications associated with your surgical procedure. Learn about the general complications, and then ask which ones your doctor frequently encounters.

Ultimately, it’s important for you to feel comfortable and confident with your ENT surgeon. Do you feel free to talk and ask questions? Do you feel that the doctor takes time to explain medical procedures and answer your questions? If you can answer yes to both, then chances are you’ve found the best ENT surgeon for you.

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