Should I See a Specialist About My Health Problem?
Specialists are doctors who have in-depth training and experience in a
particular area of medicine. For example, a cardiologist has years of special
training in dealing with heart problems. A visit to a specialist often costs
more than a visit to your regular doctor, and the tests and treatments that you
receive may be more expensive and invasive. Of course, specialists often
provide the information you need to help you decide what to do about a major
health problem and can perform certain procedures not available through your
primary care doctor. For more information about specialists, see the topic Medical Specialists.
If you think you need to see a specialist but
you have not been referred to one, discuss your concerns with your primary care
doctor. When you do have a referral to see a specialist, a little preparation
and good communication can help you get the most out of your visit. Before you go see a
- Know your diagnosis or expected
- Learn about your basic treatment
- Make sure that any test results or records on your case
are sent to the specialist.
- Know what your primary care doctor
would like the specialist to do (for example, take over the case, confirm the
diagnosis, conduct tests).
- Ask your primary care doctor to remain
involved in your care. Ask the specialist to send new test results or
recommendations to both you and your regular doctor.