On occasion, it can be necessary to change doctors. From getting new jobs and moving away to patient dissatisfaction, there are a variety of reasons people switch their physicians.
When it comes to switching dermatologists, the process requires a lot of time, research, and care. That’s why we’re here to help. We’ve put together a list of tips and useful information to keep in mind when searching for a new dermatologist.
- Check your insurance
First things first, you need to double-check your insurance plan. Every healthcare plan is different. If your insurance policy covers dermatology services, you’ll want a refresher on what kind of plan you have and how it works for specialists.
Typically, HMO and POS plans require a referral from your primary care doctor before your insurance will approve a dermatology visit. If you have a PPO policy, you usually won’t need referrals to see specialists; however, it’s important to confirm this information with your insurance policy before scheduling an appointment with a dermatologist.
- Ask around
The best advice comes from the people you know and trust. Ask friends, family members, and colleagues about dermatologists in the area you’re looking at. Ask them about their experience with their own dermatologist or see if they’ve heard of anything about dermatologists nearby. Make sure you ask about how long it takes to get an appointment, wait times, and how much time the dermatologist typically spends with their patients.
You can also ask your primary care physician if they have any suggestions for dermatologists — medical schools are large communities and physicians often end up with a nationwide list of references. They’ll probably have a few dermatologists in mind.
Looking for help to find a dermatologist in Michigan?
It’s likely that your current dermatologist knows of other physicians in the area. If you’re still on good terms with your dermatologist and switching isn’t the result of a bad relationship, they might actually be your best source for finding a new doctor. Since your dermatologist already knows your medical history, they can help you search for a new dermatologist that caters to your specific needs.
- Search online
This step can be pretty overwhelming; there’s a lot of information out there. But luckily, the American Medical Association has a doctor finder tool. This will help you find dermatologists in your area and also give you a sense of their reputations. Information on patient satisfaction and medical malpractice records are available.
Many insurance providers have a list of doctors that take your insurance, and you can generally search by specialist and location. This is a great option to completely avoid out-of-pocket expenses. You can also call the dermatologist you’re considering and ask about the insurances they accept; they’re usually listed on their website as well.
Physician-rating websites like Healthgrades are a nice research option as well, but tread lightly — people often only ever love or hate their doctors, which can improperly gauge a dermatologist’s competence.
- Verify credentials
Don’t forget one of the most important parts of your research: verifying credentials. Verifying a dermatologist’s credentials is crucial when it comes to seeing them for the first time. Doctors will usually list their credentials and certification on their websites.
You can also verify a dermatologist’s board certification (it means they’ve been exclusively and extensively trained in dermatology) with the American Board of Dermatology or the American Academy of Dermatology Association.
Board certification of dermatologists includes:
- Having a valid license to practice medicine
- Completing medical school, the required internship hours, and an Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (accredited dermatology residency program)
- Passing the exams given by the American Board of Dermatology, American Osteopathic Board of Dermatology, or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada
The American Academy of Dermatology also allows you to search for certified dermatologists in your area.
- Schedule an appointment
Once you’ve narrowed down a dermatologist, call and schedule your first appointment as soon as possible. Dermatologists are often booked out weeks or even months in advance. You’ll also want to get your medical records forwarded from your previous dermatologist to your new one, so your new doctor can review them and figure out the best treatment plan.
The Derm Institute of West Michigan makes new patient enrollment a breeze. We offer same-day appointments and strive to personalize each treatment to make our patients feel confident in their own skin.
If you are looking for a dermatologist in Grand Rapids, you’re in luck! Dr. Kristi Hawley is not only a board-certified dermatologist, she’s also a Psoriasis and rash expert. Plus, she’s had advanced training to provide patients with top-notch aesthetic and cosmetic medicine.
Call 616-326-0114 or click the button below to make an appointment today!