How to Find and Choose a Cardiologist
September 08, 2016
There are many different reasons that people seek out the care of a cardiologist. From those without symptoms to those with active disease, cardiologists comprise a specialty that is geared toward both the prevention and treatment of heart disease.
Who you choose to see is not a decision that should be taken lightly. There are many factors that come into play when choosing any doctor, but especially a physician that is so "close to your heart."
6 steps to ensure you find the right cardiologist
- Accessibility – Where your cardiologist's office is located and the hospital where he or she has privileges are important factors to consider. If you are someone with active heart disease, numerous trips to the cardiologist may be needed for check ups and tests throughout the year. With over 20 community cardiology locations across eastern Pennsylvania and into New Jersey, being accessible without sacrificing exceptional care is something that we pride ourselves on.
- Credentials – A cardiologist is a physician that specializes in preventing and treating heart and blood vessel diseases. There are some credentials that you can look for when you are looking for a cardiologist. The acronym F.A.C.C. following a physician's name stands for Fellow of the American College of Cardiology. This is an elected professional designation that is obtained by those that have achieved excellence in the field of cardiology. You also want to ensure that they are board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine.
- Insurance Coverage – Double check with your insurance company to ensure that the cardiologist that you choose is in your network of physicians. You can also call the hospital or physician's office to make sure that they accept your insurance. You do not want to be surprised by unanticipated medical expenses. Penn Medicine's providers participate with many medical insurance plans and provide financial counseling services to patients regarding their ability to pay for services.
- Start Chatting – Once you have narrowed down cardiologists that are accessible to you, have the appropriate credentials, and accept your insurance, start talking with others in your community. You may know of someone that has seen or is seeing a cardiologist. Ask them about their thoughts on both the physician and the health system in which they practice.
- Communication – This is a very important part of any patient/doctor relationship. You want to make sure that your questions will be answered in a way that you understand. You need to be a part of your health care decisions. Find a cardiologist that will make you part of the team with the same end goal – good heart health.
- Innovation – Find a cardiologist that is at the forefront of his/her specialty. When it comes to the prevention and treatment of heart disease, the science of medicine is always improving. You want a cardiologist that knows firsthand these changes, one that is a part of advancing the field.
Whether you have been seen by another cardiologist and want to get a second opinion, or it is your first time searching for this specialty, Penn Medicine can help. We hope these tips provide you with the confidence that you need to choose the best cardiologist for you.