4 Qualities to Look for in a Cardiologist

Published on 16/03/2024 by admin

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Last modified 21/03/2024

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Your heart is a vital organ. If it does not work properly, it cannot effectively pump your blood around your body. This can lead to several health issues, including heart failure. Having heart problems is stressful, and visiting a cardiologist for heart problems can be downright terrifying. 

That is why it is so important to find the right cardiologist should you need to see one. There are more than 800 cardiologists in Houston alone. But this does not mean you should make an appointment with the first one you find online. The cardiologist you choose should meet you wherever you are in your health journey. So, before you make that phone call or book an online appointment with a Houston cardiologist, determine whether the cardiologist possesses the following qualities: 

1. Board Certification

Board certification is not so much a quality as it is non-negotiable. No matter which cardiologist you want to see, ensure they are board-certified in cardiovascular disease. The board certification must be held with a reputable organization like the American Board of Internal Medicine. Cardiologists and cardiac surgeons are not the same. A cardiologist completes a residency in internal medicine and then a cardio fellowship. They specialize in medical and endovascular heart problems. A cardiothoracic surgeon typically completes a residency in general surgery before entering a cardiothoracic fellowship. 

2. Experience and Expertise

In addition to board certification, your cardiologist should have the necessary experience and expertise in treating heart-related health issues. New cardiologists are no less qualified but may lack the expertise to treat specific heart conditions. If you are diagnosed with a rare heart issue, consider choosing a cardiologist with proven experience and expertise in managing such a condition. For example, if you have ventricular fibrillation, you want a cardiologist with extensive experience in that area. 

3. Excellent Communication Skills and Bedside Manner

Besides medical skills, your cardiologist must be an excellent communicator. If you get vague descriptions and answers from your doctor, it will only stress you out more. You need a cardiologist who will explain your condition clearly and discuss your treatment options in a way you can easily understand. Moreover, your cardiologist should have a commendable bedside manner. They should interact with you by making eye contact while you speak and allowing you to ask questions. This is the best way to build a trusted relationship with your cardiologist and get the most out of your appointments

4. Treatment and Approach

Not all cardiologists use the same treatments or approaches to treating heart conditions. For example, one cardiologist may recommend lifestyle changes and medication, while another may insist on surgical treatment. You must be comfortable with the approach and treatment suggested by your cardiologist. If you are scared of surgery, ask your cardiologist if there are any alternatives. Discuss your treatment preferences and see whether the cardiologist considers your input before creating a personalized treatment plan. If you prefer having some control over your treatment plan, find a cardiologist willing to leave some of the decisions with you.

Choosing a Hospital 

If you need more than one treatment session per month or need to see the cardiologist every second month, choose a local hospital affiliated with your doctor. It is an added bonus if the hospital has a great reputation for cardiac care and surgery. 

Checking Online Reviews

If you find it challenging to choose a cardiologist, narrow your choices to two or three. Then, read online reviews and website testimonials for all of them. Reviews shouldn’t be the only deciding factor, but read them to get insight from other patients’ perspectives. Look for reviews that mention communication skills, empathy, treatment approach, and overall bedside manner. 

Determine Availability

If you have a life-threatening heart condition, you need a cardiologist that is immediately available and can accommodate your treatment schedule. Even if you schedule online appointments for the time being, it is better than waiting three months for an in-person visit. Also, determine how easy it would be to reach the cardiologist’s office in an emergency.

Insurance and Billing

Lastly, verify that the cardiologist accepts your insurance plan. Ask about the practice’s billing and whether it includes various fees and out-of-pocket costs. You must understand the costs of your health care so you don’t run into issues in the future. 

Prioritize Your Heart Health By Choosing the Right Cardiologist

Take control of your heart health by doing research before choosing a cardiologist. When you find a qualified and compatible doctor, you invest in your health for many years to come.