According to a recent survey of 7600 adults across 27 metropolitan areas, more than 90 percent of Americans reported that they consider choosing a physician a major life decision, however the majority of them dedicated more time to researching the purchase of a car. The survey, conducted by Harris Interactive, asked respondents how many hours they spend researching cars, colleges, real estate agents, mobile cell phone plans, refrigerators, gyms and physicians.
Although the numbers in each category varied, the trend was obvious. People, in general, are spending less time researching which doctor to choose than researching less meaningful expenditures in their lives.
The doctor you choose may make a bigger difference than the products and procedures you select. The insurance industry has made it difficult for many doctors to make a living wage practicing healing medicine. As a result, more doctors have taken up elective procedures because patients pay for these themselves. Doctors from very diverse fields have entered the field. Their training and back- ground vary widely. Patients must take the initiative to find out about their doctors.
YOUR DOCTOR MAKES THE DIFFERENCE
If you take a piece of stone and give it to a carpenter or give it to Michelangelo, the results will be dramatically different. With any procedure, fine but important technical points can make huge differences in the final outcome. Unfortunately, there is no Board Certification for physicians regarding laser procedures as there is for medical specialties like dermatology and internal medicine. You must screen your own doctor for experience and skill.
FOLLOW THESE STEPS TO CHOOSE A DERMATOLOGIST
- Decide what you will/ want to have done.
- Find out about the doctor’s experience with the procedure. How long has he or she performed it? On how many patients? There is no substitute for experience. (Experience also includes attending seminars and educational meetings.) In addition to seminars, before I begin performing a procedure, I spend time with one of the first or most experienced physicians with that procedure. Find out all the experience your potential doctor has with the procedure.
- Ask to see photos of patients.
- Ask to speak to their patients. Physicians should encourage you to speak to some of their patients.
- Ask about complications they have.
- Ask what type of physician they are: General practice, allergist, plastic surgeon, etc. If they normally have not been trained to do this procedure, (allergists, etc.), the decision to perform these procedures may be made solely for monetary reasons. A two-day course in Hawaii does not count as “trained.”
- Dermatologists are trained to have a deep understanding of skin, extremely important for the procedure, but even more essential during the healing phase. If problems or potential problems occur, a dermatologist has expertise for all types of skin problems.
- You want a specialist in your area. I have heard of allergists, pediatricians, and even oral surgeons doing laser resurfacing.