When you’re looking for a new doctor, it can be challenging to know what questions are important and what should be a red flag. There are so many things to consider when choosing a new doctor, from their location and cost of services to their office hours, accessibility, and availability of extended appointments. However, most importantly, how comfortable will you feel asking them personal questions?
A great urologist will go above and beyond just treating your symptoms. They should actively listen to your concerns and help guide you through the right treatment plan. Whether you’re looking to switch urologists or just find a new one altogether, here are some helpful tips that we think every patient should ask when choosing a new urologist.
Urology is a niche medical field that requires the expertise of an experienced specialist. In fact, it’s not uncommon for patients to see two or three urologists before finding the right fit. That’s why it’s important to interview prospective urologists, ask targeted questions, and do your homework before signing on with any specialist. While all urologists have similar training and expertise, they also have different areas of focus and patient experiences.
What Procedures do You Specialize in?
Depending on the nature of your condition, different procedures may be recommended. For example, if you’re dealing with an enlarged prostate, you may need to go through a transurethral resection procedure (TURP), which involves removing some of the prostate tissue. While if you’re experiencing kidney stones, a urologist may recommend a percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCN). When you’re choosing a new urologist, it’s important to ask them what procedures they specialize in to ensure you get the best and safest treatment possible.
Where and Which Labs do You Work With?
It can be easy to overlook this important factor, but the lab that your urologist works with can have a huge impact on the quality and outcome of your treatment. If you’re having surgery, the blood samples that are collected should be sent to a laboratory that has a high-quality reputation. Otherwise, it could result in an incorrect diagnosis or mistreatment.
How Long Have You Been Practicing Urology?
It’s important to ask how long your urologist has been practicing urology to see if they’ve had enough experience to treat your condition effectively. Ideally, you want to see a urologist who has been in practice for at least 10 years and preferably more. First-time urologists might be more cautious when it comes to treating a more complex condition, which could delay your treatment. At the same time, more experienced urologists are more likely to have a wider variety of treatment options, giving you a better chance of finding the right fit.
Do You Have Any Patients Who Have Undergone the Same Procedure?
If you have a specific issue you’re looking to get treated; you’ll want to ask about the past success rate for that specific diagnosis. For example, if your goal is to get treated for your BPH, Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, you’ll want to ask how many patients they’ve treated for BPH and what the success rate is for their treatment plan. Every patient has different symptoms and levels of severity, so you’ll want to know how the urologist treats patients with BPH, what their rate is for successful treatment, and if those numbers match up with your diagnosis.
It’s a great idea, if you’re meeting with a urologist for the first time, to ask if they have any patients who have undergone the same procedure. If they’ve treated patients with your specific condition in the past, it can be a good way to get an idea of what to expect throughout your treatment.
Discover the Unique Qualities that Set This Urologist Apart.
No two urologists are exactly the same. You’ll want to ask questions that help you discover what makes this urologist different from others in your area. Examples of questions you can ask include: What is their specialty? What makes this urologist uniquely qualified to treat your condition? What is their background and experience?
In addition to the above, you’ll also want to ask about their specific training and education. Depending on your diagnosis, it’s possible that your urologist will refer you to another specialist to treat your condition. By asking about their specific training, you’ll be able to find out if they’re comfortable referring you to another doctor if needed.
Are There Any Restrictions on the Diet or Activities That I Should Adhere to Before and After the Procedure?
If you’re going to be undergoing a complex or invasive procedure, it’s important to ask your urologist about any dietary restrictions or other precautions that will be necessary before or after the procedure.
Before your procedure, you’ll likely be given an IV antibiotic to help prevent infection. After your procedure, you may also be asked to wear a sanitary pad or take an antibiotic to help prevent infection. Depending on the location of your incision, other precautions may include avoiding wearing tight-fitting underwear, avoiding strenuous activity, and potentially avoiding sexual intercourse.
What Are the Possible Side Effects of This Procedure?
No matter what procedure you’re having, there are always potential side effects. It’s important to ask your urologist about the side effects of your specific procedure so that you can mentally prepare for them. There may be long-term side effects; make sure you know how long they can last and if there are any ways to shorten the duration.
Is This Procedure Covered by My Insurance, and If Not, How Much Will it Cost Me Out-of-Pocket?
Whether you have private insurance, are on Medicare, or are a part of the VA, your coverage will determine the amount you pay for services. When choosing a urologist, it’s important to ask about their office policy for accepting payment, as well as about any co-pays for office visits and lab tests.
If you have private insurance, it’s important to ask if your urologist is in-network with your plan. If they aren’t, you may have to pay significantly more out of pocket, especially if you have a high deductible. For example, if you have a $5,000 deductible, and your urologist isn’t in-network with your insurance plan, you’ll have to pay that full amount before your insurance kicks in.
There are tons of variables that can impact the cost of a procedure, such as your doctor’s practice, location, medical coverage, and the specific procedure you’re receiving.
Is There Anything Else That I Should Know Before Making My Decision?
After asking all these questions, you should have a pretty good idea if this urologist is the right fit for you. If you have any other questions or concerns, don’t be afraid to ask them! When it comes to your health, there’s no such thing as being too thorough. Z Urology, based in South Florida, is staffed with multiple specialty doctors; you’ll be able to find a urologist that’s right for you! Call Z Urology today.