Finding a dermatologist that is right for you is an important decision. Especially when dealing with a skin condition. Choosing a dermatologist comes with considering important factors: is your dermatologist board-certified? Do they meet all your requirements and expertise? Do they communicate in a way you feel comfortable?
If you’re wondering where to start, pull out a pen and take some notes because we’re going to share with you a few tips for picking a dermatologist!
Tip #1 – Ask For Referrals
This tip can apply to a lot of major decisions when it comes to healthcare. Talk to your family, friends, or even other healthcare providers about who they might suggest would be a good fit for your needs. Once you’ve found a couple of dermatologists that might fit, check with their office to see if they are accepting new patients. If they are, ask the receptionist to set up a consultation appointment with you and the doctor. This appointment can ease you into meeting your potential dermatologist and allow you to interview them to see if they fit what you’re looking for.
Tip #2 – Ask For The Dermatologist’s Credentials
Much like all healthcare providers, one of the most important things to note is necessary skills and experience in dermatology.
- Does your dermatologist have the necessary training, certifications, hospital training and medical school degree?
- Are they board-certified?
This is a crucial factor in your decision-making and not something to be overlooked. It is common to find that many doctors will list credentials and certifications on their website. You can also confirm this information with the American Academy of Dermatology or the American Board of Dermatology.
There are many types of boards and certifications. If you don’t see FAAD – “Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology” – after your dermatologist’s name, make sure your dermatologist is board certified by one of these organizations:
- American Board of Dermatology
- American Osteopathic Board of Dermatology
- Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada
If the dermatologist is listed on one of these boards, you can feel confident knowing that you would be receiving care from a doctor that has been certified in their skill, knowledge and experience.
Aside from their training history, it is important to also note if they have has any history of disciplinary actions or malpractice. You can find this on state websites. It’s important to know that your dermatologist has been properly and extensively been trained in dermatology exclusively.
Tip #3 – Ask For The Dermatologist’s Experience
Experience is a little different than credentials. If you’re facing specific issues, having a dermatologist that has had a lot of experience in that area of dermatology will contribute to a better outcome. It’s common for dermatologists to complete additional education for a specialization. It’s helpful to find a dermatologist who specializes in whatever your particular needs are.
Feel free to ask how many patients your dermatologist has treated with your condition. If you need a procedure, ask how many procedures the doctor has performed and the complication rates they’ve experienced.
This is exceptionally important when you’re dealing with a specific procedure or condition such as hair and nail disorders or even skin cancer surgery.
Tip #4 – Ask About After Hours Care
Consider services such as after hours care. For instance, following a procedure, you may need to contact your dermatologist. Knowing you can reach them on-call, outside office hours or maybe through answering services for emergencies can be comforting.
Tip #5 – Observe Dermatologist’s Communication Style
Being comfortable talking to your dermatologist is a big one. Everyone’s communication style varies. Observe how the dermatologist answers your questions or responds to your concerns. Did you feel they considered your concerns or did you feel rushed? Make sure the dermatologist you choose considers your concerns, answers your questions, and understands your treatment preferences.
Tip #6 – Read The Dermatologist’s Patient Reviews
Online reviews can be helpful but should be taken with a grain of salt. On the other hand, reviews can provide insight into the office environment, wait times, appointments, and the dermatologist’s overall practice.
If you’ve already determined this dermatologist is medically qualified, you’re only now looking to see if they’re the right fit.
Why do we say you should take reviews with a grain of salt? Well, firstly, most patients who had a good experience do not have motivation to leave a good review unless asked to. On the contrary, a patient who had an unsatisfactory experience will be more willing to shed light on their grievances. This means you might find more bad than good. Keep in mind, everyone has their own expectation of what they consider satisfactory to them for their particular medical needs.
This isn’t always the reason to discount a recommendation from a family member or friend.
A few red flags to consider when vetting a dermatologist’s office are:
- Hidden fees
- Unsatisfactory results
- Sale-driven environment
- Unwelcoming or a not friendly staff
- Non-specific treatments
- Negative bedside manner
This is where online reviews can be helpful.
Tip #7 – Ask What Insurance They Accept
Insurance coverage is important in a more practical sense. In order to receive the most insurance benefits and avoid spending a lot of money out-of-pocket, you will need to choose a dermatologist that accepts your insurance coverage. This is to be considered on top of experience, credentials, outcomes, and communication quality.
If you are unsure about your insurance, call your provider to guide you through dermatologists that are within your network. They can help you based on your condition and the treatment you may need.
Making Your Appointment
Once you’ve decided on a dermatologist, it’s time to book your appointment. It’s recommended to book your appointment as early as possible to help ensure you get timely care. This is common with specialists. Here are a few tips to help you with making your first appointment with your dermatologist:
- Make an appointment as early as possible. The earlier the better. Try to call several weeks or months ahead of the timeline you wish to be seen.
- Explain why you’re making the appointment. If you have concerns, have a specific condition or pain, explain this briefly when you make the appointment. If you have an urgent issue, they may try to accommodate your timeline.
- Ask how they handle cancellation. Because many dermatologists have a wait list, they need to be aware of cancellations. Alternatively, if you are waiting for an appointment and another patient cancels, this could mean an earlier appointment may be available for you.
Whatever your decision, you owe it to yourself to make the decisions that feel right and are best for you.
Call Dr. Balshi in South Florida For All Your Dermatology Needs
To schedule a preliminary consultation about your skin questions and concerns, call a board-certified dermatologist in Delray Beach, Florida, contact Balshi Dermatology at (561) 272-6000 or send us a message on our Contact Page to set up your appointment.