Whether you have recently moved to a new city or state or plan to live in your current location, how prepared are you for potential health complications. Most people seek out a general family physician or internist, a dentist …. and the list usually ends there. For discretionary spending, the list is not only substantially longer, but typically involves greater research efforts. This list might include the following examples: (1) hair salon, (2) nail salon, (3) spa, (4) grocery store, (5) sports bars, (6) golf courses, (7) Walmart, (8) Costco, (9) Pizza delivery stores, (10) Home Depot… and the list goes on.
What happens if:
you experience unrelenting pain in the vicinity just under the rib cage on the right side of the body with pain radiating into the right shoulder blade?
you experience tightness in the chest with possible pain in the jaw and/or numbness in the left arm?
you experience blood in your urine?
you experience blood in your stool?
you experience unexplained weight loss with or without muscular or joint pain?
you experience back or neck pain that over the counter medications and or prescriptive drugs do not alleviate or improve physical function?
you experience difficulty speaking with abnormal changes in facial muscle tone?
you experience unexplained weight gain, brittle hair, dry skin, frequent constipation?
The obvious answer is to seek professional healthcare advice. Since most people have a limited choice between their family physician/internist or dentist, it seems the medical physician would be a good starting point. What happens if the physician determines the results of his or her exam requires a “Specialist” for further evaluation and treatment? What steps have you taken in preparation for this type of event? Most people rely on their doctors to refer specialists. Do you think that each specialist referred will meet YOUR STANDARDS AND CRITERIA for the quality of care you’re entitled to? Do you think your primary physician takes the time to refer a Specialist that matches your personal needs and personality to produce an optimal outcome? Isn’t it more likely that the primary physician will have a cardiologist, neurologist, urologist, etc provided by the office he or she works in for referrals or a facility where the policy is to refer to in house specialists? What are the chances the referral will be the BEST CHOICE for your specific needs?
Since most people rely on themselves to find primary doctors that meet their health care requirements, why shouldn’t we invest the same (if not more energy and time) finding specialists that fulfill these same stringent health care requirements? Relying on a primary doctor to know “ALL THE BEST CHOICES OF SPECIALISTS” for each individual patient is pretty unlikely. As a patient paying for these professional services, would you be satisfied with a mediocre specialist providing mediocre care producing mediocre results?
If your primary physician was sub par and required multiple office visits to determine what antibiotic would finally resolve your bacterial infection, the worst outcome would likely be lingering annoying symptoms and a few extra days of lost work with possible lost wages. If your cardiologist, neurologist, urologist or endocrinologist was sub par, your life may be placed at risk. Yet most of us are cavalier about ensuring we have these specialists in place BEFORE WE NEED THEM! When an emergency arises, how capable do you think you would be to solicit and interview multiple specialists to determine your best choice?
If your reaction to these questions is, “I never thought about what happens if?…,” maybe it’s time to think about it. Since most of you are not currently experiencing problems requiring immediate emergency specialty care, you have time to do your homework and start the shopping process. You shop for nail salons, hair salons, golf courses and sports bars; now it’s time to shop for healthcare specialty facilities. Probably not nearly as much fun as other types of shopping, but a chore that might just save your life.
Don’t be intimidated. You are in the driver’s seat. You are the boss handling the interview and hiring the “candidate” of choice. Prepare yourself by having questions ahead of time. Schedule a COMPLIMENTARY consultation, but respect the physician’s time by keeping the visit short. Five minutes is a reasonable time frame. Personally, if a doctor cannot afford or is unwilling to provide five minutes, you might need to question the time they would be willing to spend with you as a patient. Be direct and courteous. Ask the relevant questions that will help you decide if the physician qualifies as a good choice.
Gather your list of choices and record their names, addresses and phone numbers. This process may just be the best investment of time you will ever make. After all, your LIFE could depend on your choices.
(On a side note) For those of you curious whether you guessed correctly the possible conditions for the eight examples of what happens if… listed above, here are some possible diagnoses.
Urinary Tract Infection or Bladder Infection or Kidney Infection/Stone
Ulcerative Colitis or Colon Cancer
Unspecified Cancer (further evaluation would determine specificity)
Herniated Disc or Sciatica (for the low back) or Facet Syndrome
TIA (transient ischemic attack) or Stroke
These are conditions that Specialist’s commonly treat. Primary physicians will typically refer to Specialists for most of these situations. The Primary Physician would be the best provider to know WHAT TYPE OF SPECIALIST you need to see. YOU can then provide YOUR CHOICE for his or her referral.
Stay healthy and happy and well adjusted. (As a Chiropractic Physician, I was compelled to add the well adjusted part.)
Has this article provided information you found beneficial?
Will you make the time to find Specialists who meet your healthcare criteria?