Internal Medicine – How to Choose the Best Doctor

Choosing an internal medicine physician is an important decision to make. It is important to ask all of the right questions when trying to choose which doctor will be best suited for you. Making sure to ask the right questions can save you time and help you to receive the best treatment.

Internal Medicine is a medical specialty whose purpose is to treat, diagnose and prevent adult diseases. In some cases, you will hear these physicians referred to as internists. An internist is to an adult what a pediatrician is to a child. Since, for most people, this physician will serve as the primary care physician, it is important to make sure that you are choosing the right doctor. There are several questions that one should ask oneself when choosing a doctor.

Where does the physician practice? Location is an important factor when choosing a doctor for a few reasons. Since it will be a doctor that one sees regularly, convenience is important. Is it more important for you to have a doctor closer to your work or closer to your home. That is one thing to consider. Also, it is important to make sure that you know what hospital your doctor works through. You do not want to choose a physician who works through a hospital that does not have the best reputation, or one that you do not feel comfortable going to should you require surgery.

Does this internal medicine doctor accept your insurance policy? It is a very important question that many people forget to ask, or simply overlook. However, it would not be good for you to show up to your first appointment and then find out that your out-of-pocket costs were a lot more than you expected and your insurance will not be covering anything. This is something that you should find out when you are calling to interview doctors.

What kind of vibe do you get from the office staff? There is nothing worse than going to a doctor’s office where the office staff is rude and they act like they are doing you a favor. It makes for a much more pleasant experience when the staff is warm and friendly. Sometimes, they get so wrapped up in their jobs that they neglect to understand that you need help and that coming to the doctor is not necessarily a pleasant experience. You want to make sure that your physician has an office staff that makes you feel comfortable and welcome. Office staff refers not only to the receptionists, but the nurses and technicians as well. In order to find out more about a particular doctor’s staff, you can look for reviews online, make a call to the office or talk to other patients of that particular physician.

How long will it take you to get an appointment? This really will vary from situation to situation based on how important it is for you to be seen immediately. However, you do not want to have to wait weeks or possibly even months to be seen when you need to. Call the office and try to make an appointment and see what the earliest the physician is available to see you

Choosing an internal medicine physician can be tricky, so it is very important for you to do your research ahead of time so that you do not waste time taking off from work jumping from doctor to doctor until you find one that you like. Call the office, ask your friends, get reviews online. Do whatever you need to make sure that you are choosing the best internist for you.

Internal Medicine – The Role of an Internist

What is an Internist?

Someone who practices internal medicine, a specialty that deals with diagnosing, preventing, and treating diseases in adults, is referred to as an internist (though they are often referred to by their more specific sub-specialty, such as an endocrinologist or oncologist).

The phrase “internal medicine” originates from the German term “Innere Medizin,” which referred to physicians in the late 19th century who combined patient care with laboratory science. The term made its way to America when many early 20th century medical students returned home from studies in Germany. An internist should not be confused with a medical “intern,” who has had significantly less training.

Education and Training

Becoming an internist requires completing an accredited residency-training program in one of the 13 sub-specialties recognized by the American Board of Internal Medicine. These sub-specialties include cardiology, endocrinology, oncology, immunology, and nephrology.

Generally, after a four-year undergraduate degree is completed, a student may enter medical school. In addition to a passing score on the MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test), an “A” or “B” average is required for a student to be accepted. Though medical programs vary in length across the country, most are four years long, with three years of study and one year of clinical work.

Once these additional years of schooling have been completed, the aspiring practitioner must “intern,” a supervised period (usually three years) of postgraduate study called “residency training.” Once residency training is completed, a standardized test must be passed in order to receive a board certification. Only then does a student graduate from being a resident to an internist. Lastly, “fellowship” or sub-specialty training requires one to three years of additional, highly focused study.

The Role of an Internist

As previously mentioned, the job of an internist is to diagnose, treat, and prevent adult diseases. They work in a clinic, a hospital, or a private office. Their daily lives involve seeing new patients, diagnosing and treating them, or following up with older patients with illnesses that fall under their division of practice. For example, an immunologist will see patients for their allergy issues, a cardiologist will see patients with heart murmurs, and an oncologist treats patients diagnosed with cancer.

These doctors are equipped to handle any issue brought to their attention by their patients and have the training to handle challenging diagnostic conundrums. One huge responsibility of these medical professionals is to educate their patients on disease prevention. This requires a complex understanding of human anatomy and modern internal medicine.

Internal Medicine – “The Way Ahead”

The United States spends a considerable high portion of GDP on Healthcare compared to other countries. Moreover both public and private players contribute immensely to the Internal Medicine. Another interesting fact is that more than half the share of health spending is done through private support. A good amount of money is also spent on educating the health professionals, research as well as providing quality care to the patients. However, despite all these efforts the uninsured citizens are only increasing. The medical errors are also on the rise. A lot of initiatives have been started like the creation of organizations that evaluate performance. Children and ethnic minority groups are the majority in this uninsured category. Let us discuss a few of the new emerging trends in the internal medicine sector.

A lot of health care plans are under consideration for reforming the current health care sector so that the benefits reach out to a larger population. However there are many other areas which have to be taken into consideration.If the insurance scheme is implemented successfully, the physician to patient ratio is also bound to increase. So an effective method has to be found out to cater to the needs of the large number of patients. With the increasing number of patients, the hospitals will have to hire more physicians to meet the demand. High quality treatment can be provided to the patients at a lower cost only if the hospitals and the physicians work closely. Though physicians who work with the hospitals have a stabilized income, there is a chance of losing the professional autonomy. This makes it necessary to maintain a balance so that there is no conflict between the hospitals and the physician. Though the Electronic health records make the documentation of the needs of the patients, easy, the chances of fraud are also high. This is a very alarming trend and has to be addressed immediately.

A positive trend is the launch of multi society which identifies overused or questionable tests and practices. This will benefit the internal medicine sector. Obesity will be a major hurdle to the overcome in the coming years. The steps taken like the ban of supersized sugary drinks, research on Bariatric surgery, and approval of weight-loss medicines are some of the effective measures taken so far. It is believed that more States will legalize medical marijuana which will subsequently reduce the use of medical marijuana. If the routine screening for cancer detection is covered under the insurance, it will be a major achievement. Infectious diseases must also be controlled to avoid casualties. All of these issues must be addressed to make a breakthrough in the internal medicine sector.