Finding Dr. Right – 3 Tips for Migraineurs
In 2013, there were a total of 1,045,910 licensed physicians in the United States; however, only 416 were found to specialize in migraines. Do you really need a specialist, though? The likely answer is no, you don’t. Finding the right doctor can be difficult for migraineurs, so I’ve compiled a list of tips to help you choose a provider that has your best interests at heart.
The CRITICAL decision – do they teach or preach?
This deserves an article all by itself, but I will cover it here because it is a critical component to adequate health care. I find this to be one of the most important decisions a migraineur has to make when searching for Dr. Right. Is the doctor you’re interested in more concerned about teaching their patients, or preaching to them? Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- How much time do they spend with each patient?
- Do they listen and respond with understanding, or are they quick to tell you their theory instead?
- Are they trying to push potentially dangerous medications, without attempting to get to the core issue of the migraine?
- Do they openly teach you about your condition, the medications, and all available treatments?
- Do they provide you with educational materials and allow you to make an informed decision on your own, with their guidance?
These questions will tell you a lot about Dr. Right, who will follow your lead because they understand that you are more knowledgeable about your body and symptoms than they are.
Stalk Dr. Right
I know, that sounds awful, but I mean it! It’s important to know everything you can about Dr. Right, whether you are currently seeing her or looking to set your first appointment. Jump online and take a look at their:
- Social media posts
- Blog, if they have one
- Patient reviews
It would also be wise to check on media coverage about them and whether they are currently in the middle of any malpractice suits; however, the website, social media, and blog will tell you a great deal about the doctor, like how much community and direct patient education means to them. An active online presence tells you they care how they look to the public and to their patients.
The next thing to consider is the kind of material they provide, and their tone.
- Are they helpful, or just preaching?
- Do they offer free educational webinars or articles?
- Do they offer any consultation time with new patients?
- Does their online voice resonate with you?
Yes, I know. Looking them up on Facebook and Google seems invasive, but trust me, they know you are doing it. We expect you to research us before you call. Personally, I love when patients walk into my office with a smile on their face, saying they found me from my blog or my social media pages. That information gives me great insight into what that person is looking for in treatment.
This one may feel self-explanatory, but it is worth talking about. Word-of-mouth is one of the most important tools I have as a migraine doctor. I want all of my patients to walk out of the office feeling hopeful and ready to tackle their concerns head on with me by their side. When looking for Dr. Right to help treat your migraine, ask around to your friends, families, neighbors, and acquaintances. You could even go into some online migraine forums and find people in your area who know of a good migraine doctor.
Know What to Look For
This is perhaps the biggest thing to consider when shopping – I mean looking – for Dr. Right. Consider this:
- Your symptoms and migraine triggers are unique to you; therefore, make sure your doctor is ready to take on the role of investigator. You may see this quality in patient reviews, through their online content, or by interviewing them over the phone.
- Think logistics: How often are you going to need them? If you’re in a rural area, or you really want to work with a doctor that is several miles away, do they have a tele-medicine option?
- The interview will tell you more than any of your research, but make sure you go prepared. Write your questions and concerns down before the interview. Dr. Right is going to be completely okay with just talking to you first, before doing an exam. Your comfort and security is going to be their primary concern.
Dr. Right is around the corner. She is there, holding a candle of helpfulness. It just takes a bit of time and research to figure out which provider’s office will become your safe place. Make the important decision first: are they a teacher or a preacher? Then move through the process of learning about that doctor with online research and then phone or office interviews with the provider. Dr. Right will be understanding and happy to oblige. With the right doctor as your partner, you can move mountains to reduce your migraine symptoms.
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