If you’re struggling with skin problems, it’s probably time to see a dermatologist. However, finding an accredited dermatologist and making an appointment is not like visiting your local GP.
Finding the right dermatologist to treat you is not as easy as simply locating one in your area. Unless you have a friend or family member who can give you a recommendation, you may feel overwhelmed when trying to find one on your own.
To make it easier, here are ten things to consider when deciding which dermatologist will be a good fit for you.
The best way to gain insight into how a dermatologist practices and operates is to read other patients’ reviews. To find reviews, enter the keywords “dermatologist” and your area into a search engine like Google, for example, “best dermatologist in utah county.”
You’ll usually find information about how the dermatologist schedules appointments, how much time patients typically have to spend in the waiting room, how friendly the staff members are, and what the office environment is like.
You’ll also gain valuable insights into how long the dermatologist spends with patients, as well as how satisfied patients are with their treatment.
You can ask your primary care health provider for a list of referrals for dermatologists, but don’t forget to ask your family and friends for their personal recommendations.
You can take your list of referrals and research each one online, call their offices to ask if they are willing to accept new patients, and arrange to meet and interview them.
Look into their credentials
As a minimum, you should make sure the dermatologist you are considering is fully qualified to treat you. This is especially true when you are worried about skin problems like rosacea, psoriasis, skin cancer, skin sores, acne, dry skin, or rashes.
A dermatologist typically spends a minimum of 12 years studying, training and undergoing testing in the science of skin problems and skin physiology.
The first nine years of their training include college science classes that prepare them for medical school, four years of medical study, a one-year internship in an accredited hospital training program, and three years in an accredited dermatology residency program.
Consider their experience
If you’re facing problems with the health or appearance of your hair, skin, or nails, you should look for a dermatologist who has experience with procedures and treatments for your specific condition.
Additional training in subspecialty areas like hair and nail conditions and surgery for skin cancer is a must. It’s essential to ask the dermatologist how many patients they have successfully treated with the same condition as yours.
If you are looking for a dermatologist to perform a specific procedure, ask how many times they have performed it and how many complications they have encountered.
Make an appointment
While you may have done the research on a dermatologist by reading patient reviews, checking their credentials, and ensuring they specialize in your condition, nothing will give you a better understanding of how they operate than going to an in-person appointment.
If possible, schedule your appointment for a Monday or Tuesday so you can see what the practice is like on the busiest days. When you make your appointment, bear in mind that having to wait several weeks for a consultation is a good sign – it means that the dermatologist is in high demand.
Take advantage of the time you spend in the busy waiting room by asking other patients about their experience with the dermatologist.
During your first visit, you’ll also have an opportunity to meet the dermatologist, ask them questions, and see how clean and patient-friendly their office is.
Consider how gender may affect treatment
Because you may need to discuss highly personal information with your dermatologist, their gender may play a role in how comfortable you will feel about speaking openly.
Although dermatologists are skilled in treating male and female patients, it’s a good idea to ask the dermatologist about their training and experience with your condition and how it relates to your own gender.
Evaluate their communication style
Choosing a dermatologist that you feel comfortable talking to and asking questions is vital. When you meet the dermatologist for the first time, make a note of how they communicate with you.
Ask yourself questions about their communication style – were they willing to answer all your questions and address any concerns in a way that was easy for you to understand? Did you feel rushed during your first appointment, or was the dermatologist engaged and thorough?
When choosing a dermatologist, find one who is interested in your history and who will respect your decisions and treatment preferences.
Ask about telehealth services
Ask your dermatologist if they offer telehealth services. Telehealth (also known as telemedicine) services entail diagnosing and treating patients via telecommunications technology – such as smartphones, email, and video calls.
Some health conditions can be managed very well by scheduling virtual dermatologist appointments while tracking the symptoms at home.
Although telehealth services can’t fully replace one-on-one in-person dermatologist appointments, they are convenient when you are unable to be physically present at your doctor’s office. Telehealth services can also be utilized for minor complaints and follow-ups. If you’re interested in telehealth services, be sure that your health insurance will cover them.
Know what your health insurance will cover
When choosing a dermatologist, a highly practical consideration is whether your health insurance will cover your appointments and treatment.
You may need to use a dermatologist who falls within your health insurance provider’s network. Nevertheless, you should still look into the dermatologist’s credentials, experience, and read patient reviews when selecting a dermatologist who is compatible with your health insurance plan.
By ensuring that the dermatologist you ultimately choose meets all the criteria on this list, you can put your doubts to rest.
By reading reviews, following up on recommendations, checking up on credentials, and assessing the dermatologist’s communication style and behaviour, you can be assured that your dermatologist is qualified, experienced, and thorough enough to treat your condition.