How to Pick an ENT
Trying to find the right doctor can be stressful. You usually aren’t feeling well when you start the search and you just want someone that can diagnose your condition, prescribe a course of treatment and treat you with the dignity and respect you deserve. You don’t want hassle; you want relief. Here are some tips to help you in your search for an ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor.
The first thing you want to do is make sure any ENT that you see is a certified otolaryngologist. This will be a physician that has completed their premedical school degree, completed medical school, spent at least 5 years in ENT training and then passed a national exam administered by the American Board of Otolaryngology (ABO). An ENT isn’t really an ENT until the ABO says they are an ENT.
Some ENT’s further specialize with additional training. If you are looking for an ENT for your baby or child, you might consider an ENT that has specialized in pediatric otolaryngology. If your problems are the result of uncontrolled allergies, you may look for an ENT that has specialized in treating allergies.
Unlike most other medical specialties, ENTs are trained as physicians and as surgeons. Some treatments provided by ENTs may require surgery. It is important to know if the ENT has the facilities in their office to perform the most common surgical procedures. A well-staffed and equipped ENT office will be able to handle many routine outpatient procedures without referring you to a hospital. For example, balloon sinuplasty is a common procedure that can be performed under local anesthesia in a well-equipped ENT’s office.
For more complex surgery, ask the ENT what hospital or surgical facility they use. Make sure it is an accredited facility with a good reputation.
Ask for referrals
Your primary care physician should be a great source of referral information. Ask your primary doctor to recommend one or more ENTs and then ask why they make their recommendation.
Feel free to ask for recommendations from friends, family and co-workers. In addition to asking the name of the ENT, ask why the person would recommend them. The why is important. A friend may love their ENT because of extended office hours and that might not be a concern of yours.
Reviews and satisfaction surveys
Look on-line for reviews and responses to surveys. These will give you insight into how the ENT runs the office. You can see how appointments are made, general wait times for an appointment and get a feel for the friendliness of the staff.