Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US, accounting for 27% of all deaths nationwide in 2020. The risks increase with age, which is why it’s important to make annual screenings routine as you get older.

However, we can’t stress the importance of finding a compatible heart doctor enough. A solid doctor-patient relationship is paramount for ensuring comfortable clinic visits and good communication. Here are tips on finding the right heart doctor for you.

Talk to Your Primary Care Physician

Usually, your primary care physician will be the first person who determines if you need a referral to a heart doctor. They will typically help you find the right doctor based on your medical history, the issues you’re experiencing, and your preferences.

Ask People You Know

With heart disease as prevalent as it is, it’s likely you know someone who has visited or know someone who has seen a heart doctor. These people may be able to refer you to a local clinic. You may want to ask around first before reading patient reviews online because the referral comes directly from someone you know and trust.

Patient Reviews

Clinics and individual doctors have reviews just as there are reviews for restaurants, auto body shops, etc. Read reviews from past clients. A few bad reviews shouldn’t be a dealbreaker. However, a pattern of recurring complaints is a red flag.

Communication and Response

Is the doctor a good communicator both in and out of the clinic? If you call, what’s the general wait time before a response from a live receptionist? How quickly does the physician respond to your email or online inquiry?

Doctor/Patient Rapport

Even after selecting a doctor, the search doesn’t end there. All appointments include an initial consultation. Use this moment to gauge the physician. You should feel comfortable with your doctor. Does his/her communication style match yours? Do you feel connected to the doctor?

Don’t hesitate to find another doctor if you feel uncomfortable. Once you finalize a decision, this is the doctor that you’ll be visiting time and again for your appointments. Be sure you feel a strong doctor/patient connection.

Credentials

Don’t hesitate to ask about the doctor’s qualifications and credentials, such as certifications and years in practice. The title FACC (Fellow of American College of Cardiology) following a physician’s name is a sign that they have achieved excellence as a cardiovascular professional and are committed to providing the best care for their patients.

In-Clinic Equipment

Does the clinic have the latest industry equipment? You may need a test requiring equipment the clinic doesn’t have. The doctor will then refer you to another clinic that’s further out.

This can be inconvenient if you’re strapped for time or don’t have readily available means of transport. Common diagnostic equipment used in a cardiac clinic include:

Insurance

Does the clinic accept your insurance provider? Call both the clinic and your insurance company to confirm the clinic accepts your coverage plan. Not verifying beforehand can result in an unexpected out-of-pocket expense upon your initial clinic visit.

Location

If you’re at risk for heart disease, you may require more frequent checkups. There may also be follow-up appointments. Is the clinic within a reasonable driving distance? For non-motorists, is the clinic accessible via public transportation?

See also: What Does a Cardiologist Do on a First Visit?

Find the Best Cardiologist Near You

Finding a heart doctor entails more work than just a quick Google search. While it takes deeper research, it does help you find a compatible doctor that you can entrust with your long-term heart health.

Many patients have chosen CT Cardio for their cardiovascular screenings because we embody the right combination of professionalism and courtesy. Set up your appointment with Dr. Thomas, the best cardiologist near you in Lafayette, LA, today!

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