When faced with lung disease, one of the most important decisions you need to make is where to go for treatment. Choosing the right program, and pulmonary provider, isn't always easy. The program's experience, team and treatment options are some of the most important considerations. The tips below can help you find the right doctor, and the best program, to meet your needs.
Ask your primary care doctor for a list of recommended pulmonologists or pulmonary programs - their recommendations are often based on years of experience working with a pulmonologist who has provided extraordinary care for other patients. You may also know someone who already sees a pulmonologist — ask your family and friends if they have a recommendation based on their own experiences.
Research Pulmonology Programs
Nationally recognized designations are recognition that programs meet strict criteria developed by clinical experts and patient advocates. The ratings focus on whole-person care for best possible outcomes. There are several trusted designations for program and provider information.
- The U.S. News &: World Report analyzes data from nearly 5,000 medical centers and survey responses from more than 30,000 physicians to rank how well hospitals perform across several different specialties. In 2021, the Hospitals of the University of Pennsylvania-Penn Presbyterian ranked #8 in the nation for Pulmonology & Lung Surgery, and #1 overall in the Philadelphia region.
- The American Nurses Credentialing Center developed the Magnet Recognition Program to award healthcare facilities for their quality of patient care, innovations and nursing excellence. All Penn Medicine acute care facilities - The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Hospital, Penn Presbyterian Medical Center and Chester County Hospital have achieved Magnet® status.
- Patient Ratings: Ratings and commentary from patients is often posted to physician's profile on their program website. For the pulmonologists at the Penn Medicine Lung Center for example, you can read ratings and comments collected by an external resource, NRC Health. Their patient satisfaction ratings are pulled from a nationally-recognized Press Ganey Patient Satisfaction Survey.
Hospital websites also offer a great detail of information about their providers, programs, research offerings and treatment options. A high-quality lung program will have a staff of doctors who specialize in wide variety of lung diseases. Look for information on the experience and training of the physicians, treatment options they offer and the research they conduct. A good program offers patients a wide variety of specialists in order to provide a customized treatment plan, one that may include access to clinical trials as an options that cannot be found elsewhere.
Communication is one of the most vital factors in your doctor-patient relationship. Once you have a short-list of potential doctors, call their office and see if you can schedule a consult appointment. It is very important that you feel secure with the doctor – did you feel okay asking them questions, did they listen to your concerns and did they explain things clearly? Depending on your health condition, you may have a life-long relationship with this doctor so it is crucial to find someone you are comfortable with.
Health Insurance Provider
Nobody wants to receive an unexpected medical bill, so make sure your pulmonologist is covered by your health insurance. Every health insurance provider offers a database of its covered in-network doctors. You can go to their website and search for a pulmonologist or respiratory therapist.
You can also call the hospital or practice directly to confirm whether they accept your insurance. The Penn Medicine Lung Center accepts multiple health insurance plans and provides financial counseling to patients concerning their ability to pay for services.
Whether you are looking for a new lung care provider or you are at the beginning of your healthcare journey, the Penn Medicine Lung Center is here to help you. To make an appointment with one of our lung care providers, please call 800-789-7366 or visit PennMedicine.org/lung.