Building Your Healthcare Team
Diabetes is your show and YOU are the director. Who you allow to help you manage your diabetes is your call. So set your standards and go out on the hunt to find the right people to fill the roles on your healthcare team.
Where Do You Start Looking?
When seeking to build your healthcare team, one of the first stops should be family, friends, and even co-workers who can give you the names of professionals they like and don't like, but get as thorough an explanation as possible. What may be a problem for them may not factor into your needs and, conversely, what they tolerate may be out of the question for you.
A second source of professional help is an online database such as the Diabetes Locator here on dLife.com or www.healthfinder.gov, where you can search by specialty or even state. Third, be sure to ask your primary care physician to whom they can refer you if you have a particular need.
- checking with your insurance plan for a list of doctors in your area.
- contacting a local hospital, medical center, medical society, physician referral service, or nearby medical school
- asking if your doctor has picked a replacement, if their retirement is what prompted your search.
Remember, you are in control. You do not have to use a particular doctor just because another doctor recommended them. And if you do choose to visit the referral but you are not comfortable with that doctor for any reason, don't be afraid to keep looking. If your choices, however, are too limited and you find you need to stay where you are, then it may be helpful to schedule a separate appointment where you can discuss your concerns with your doctor. Sometimes, the pace of checkups and exams make it difficult for the doctor to address all your concerns at that moment and makes it equally daunting for the patient who feels too rushed to think clearly. A separate appointment may give both parties a chance to relate in a more meaningful way.
What Do You Look For in a Doctor?
Look for a doctor who:
- is rated to give quality care;
- has the training and background that meet your needs;
- takes steps to prevent illness—for example, talks to you about quitting smoking;
- has privileges at the hospital of your choice;
- is part of your health plan, unless you can afford to pay extra;
- encourages you to ask questions;
- listens to you;
- explains things clearly;
- treats you with respect.
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This past weekend was my STAR TREK group's anniversary picnic. Our hostess was one of our chapter's newer members, though she's definitely a second-generation member (perhaps since birth!) of the larger organization. She's also dealing with a couple of agressive, quality-of-life-limiting autoimmune conditions, at least one of which has been somewhat mitigated by the effect of bariatric surgery. In the relaxed atmosphere of a group picnic, she was able to explain a bit more about...