Tips for Choosing a Gastroenterologist in San Antonio

Last updated March. 18, 2019

There are several reasons you might need to see a Gastroenterologist. When you have new digestive symptoms that require the attention of a specialist, your primary care physician may refer you to one.

When you have been diagnosed of any chronic digestive condition, you will also be required to closely work with a gastroenterologist in order to manage the condition properly.

There are equally some screenings that you may be required to undergo with a gastroenterologist in order to prevent certain diseases that may cause real problem.

In any of the instances, you need the best gastroenterologist you can get. Ideally, a Gastroenterologist can handle any condition that affects the esophagus, stomach, gallbladder, pancreas, bile duct, small intestine, and colon.

Though they are all vast in digestive health, there are still some level of specialization in the field.

While some may be more adept with motility disorders (problems that affect the way food, liquid, waste move through the digestive system) others may be neurogastroenterologists who focus on the interaction between the brain and the gut.

No matter what the digestive condition is, it is important you find the right gastroenterologist for you. Here are few tips that can help you to find the suitable doctor for your gastrointestinal needs.

Here, we will consider some of those essential tips for choosing the right gastroenterologist.


1. Ask for Referral for Gastroenterologist

Your primary care physician or internist is normally the first person to contact about any health condition. Ideally, they are the ones who know best about when to see a specialist.

In most instances, they are also the ones in the best position to refer you to a gastroenterologist.

Some specialists even refuse appointment except a patient has a referral and in some countries it is essential to have a referral from a general practitioner before seeing a specialist.

In any case, you can ask your doctor for a referral as he/she must have worked with some gastroenterologists and understands who may suit your particular need.

Aside from your doctor, you can equally ask friends and family for referral.

If you know anyone who has worked with a gastroenterologist and believes that the services of that specialist are top notch,it would be wise for you to visit the Gastroenterologist.

2. Consider the Certification of the Doctor

When it comes to working with a specialist, you don’t have to ever joke with certifications and licensure. You need to work only with experts that are fully certified and licensed to work in your area.

In America, for instance, every gastroenterologist is expected to be a full member of the American gastroenterological association (AGA).

He/she is also expected to be certified both in internal medicine and gastroenterology by the American Board of Internal Medicine.

There is also need to ascertain that the specialist holds the state medical license and is permitted to practice in your state.

You can ask the doctor about this when you meet or when you call the office; it doesn’t amount to disrespect.


3. Educational Background of the Gastroenterologist

Generally, doctors are well trained in every institution, but it wouldn’t be a very bad idea if you try to understand just where and when the gastroenterologist you want to work with was trained.

Maybe there is nothing linking the success of a medical practitioner to where he/she was trained but we can just assume that it matters a little and you need to work with specialists who had the best trainings while working towards their certifications.

Try to find out about such things as when and where the doctor did residency and if he/she holds the fellowship of any institution.

4. Consider Hospital Affiliations and Reputation

Your specialist must be affiliated with a hospital and it will make perfect sense to know about such affiliations.

It may appear as if you are snooping around but it is your health that is on the line and you need to do all you can to ensure that you find the best you can get to give you the perfect medical care you need.

Knowing about hospital affiliations will give you an idea of the doctor’s quality and the sort of equipment within his/her reach.

After finding out about hospital affiliation, you can also try to find out about the reputation of the doctor in the hospital.


5. Consider the Doctor’s Experience

This is a no-brainer. Doctors who have experience handling cases like yours will be in a better position to give the sort of medical care you need.

It is true that younger doctors may be smart and efficient but when you work with a gastroenterologist with years of experience under his/her belt, you can be certain that he/she will have a better understanding of how to treat your condition.

Your need of an experienced gastroenterologist will be more understandable if your condition requires a surgical procedure. Experience counts so much in such procedures.

6. Check for Lawsuit and Disciplinary Record

Thanks to technology, it is easier to get sensitive information these days. You can obtain such information about your potential gastroenterologist by a simple google search.

Explore all your options to find out if the specialist you are planning to work with has ever been sued for malpractice or disciplined by relevant regulatory bodies.

While a lawsuit may not be an indication that a medical practitioner is not professional enough, a myriad of them should have you worried.

If there has also been some disciplinary measures against the practitioner, consider it carefully and access if it will be too risky to work with such specialist.


7. Consider the Treatment and Behaviour

This is especially important if you have a chronic digestive condition. This means you will have to be under the care of the specialist for a long time.

It is important that you work with a specialist who is willing to listen to you, entertain your questions and respect your decisions.

Your initial contact with the specialist should give you an idea of his/her communication style and you have to decide if it is something you can put up with.

8. Check Online Reviews About the Gastroenterologist

Thanks to the internet, you can find out so much about physicians and their relationship with their patients.

Gone are the days you will have to ask doctors for references as there can be hundreds of reviews on their websites from their past patients.

There are independent websites that have listings of doctors and specialists as well as genuine patients’ reviews on them and the quality of their services.

It is important that you approach this carefully. Though a complaint or two does not mean a specialist is bad, a long list of patients who complain about a particular thing can be an indication that something is wrong.


9. Know What Your Insurance Covers

As you would expect, the cost of obtaining specialist medical care can be significantly different from what it takes to consult general practitioners.

You need to check your health insurance policy to understand the details so as to pay the least out-of-pocket expenses.

It may also be necessary to contact the office of the gastroenterologist you are hoping to work with to understand if your current health plan is acceptable.

You can find many gastroenterologists but it is important that you work with a specialist whom you are comfortable with.

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