Choosing your bioidentical hormone doctor is an important decision that should be approached thoughtfully and thoroughly. Here are some key qualities you should consider when talking or visiting with potential practitioners:
Communication: Are you comfortable with the doctor’s communication style and “bedside manner?”
Good, open, two-way communication is critical for a healthy doctor-patient relationship. Naturally, every doctor has his or her own style; it’s crucial to choose someone you feel completely comfortable communicating with. Likewise, because the doctor-patient relationship is built upon honesty and trust, a doctor with good bedside manner will always tell you the truth about conditions or treatments, while also making sure you feel reassured and at ease.
Location: Is the office located conveniently for you, and does it have plenty of parking?
A convenient location isn’t the only factor, or even the top factor, to consider when choosing your bioidentical hormone doctor. Be sure to think about all the other factors – such as comfortable communication, credentials and experience – to determine whether a doctor is good fit for you and your situation.
Because bioidentical hormone therapy is a relatively new field, finding the right match close to home may be difficult. If you do select a doctor outside of your area, then once you’re through with your initial appointments, it’s sometimes possible to fill prescriptions locally or have your medicine mailed to you.
Flexibility: How long must you wait for an appointment?
If your schedule is reasonably flexible, but the wait time for an appointment is still excessively long, it might mean starting the treatment process and keeping subsequent appointments will also be challenging.
Responsiveness: How long must you wait for a return call when you’ve got a question or concern?
When a doctor returns your call promptly, it likely means he or she is interested and invested in your care. Doctors are normally rather busy, but taking time to respond to your call means he or she is making you a priority.
Qualifications: What degrees, designations, certifications, etc., does the doctor have?
Check every doctor’s credentials and experience to ensure he or she has the necessary education and training to provide you with accurate, helpful information, recommendations, diagnoses and treatment.
Innovation: Does the doctor keep up-to-date on the latest medical advancements?
Most practitioners are required to complete a specified number of hours of continuing education each year in order to maintain their licensure. Medical improvements are continually emerging, and practitioners who are up on the latest medical advancements have the optimal tools and techniques to treat their patients.
Collaboration: Does the doctor seem comfortable with you asking questions?
It is vital that you understand your own medical issues, tests and treatments – including what’s involved, as well as potential risks and benefits – so you can make informed decisions about your health. You must feel comfortable asking your doctor questions, and he or she must feel comfortable answering them to your satisfaction.
Expectations: What does the doctor expect from you as a patient?
Most doctors expect their patients to be straightforward and forthcoming about their lifestyle, symptoms, actions taken and concerns regarding their health. Some doctors expect you to be proactive in your own healing, and will offer recommendations about what you can do to improve the effects of your condition or treatment. Your doctor might even give you guidelines or restrictions you must follow at home to get the right results you both want.
Personal Touch: Will you be meeting with the doctor at every appointment, or will you sometimes be seeing nurse practitioners?
Nurse practitioners have significant medical training, but meeting with your doctor to assess your progress, and discuss your health and treatment at each visit may be relevant to receiving the best care.
Payment & Paperwork: Does the office process insurance claims?
Some medical practices are in-network with a particular insurance company, meaning they have a contract with the company to cover or pay for some claims. Other offices may be out-of-network, meaning they might submit their invoice to your insurance company or might give you the bill to submit yourself. Every insurance plan is different; if you have insurance coverage, then you can just check with your insurer to see whether your individual plan covers treatment.