Joseph G. Magnant, MD, FACS, RVPI
Today, it is important for patients to take an active role in researching their medical care. Fortunately, the internet is a great resource that provides patients with information to research health care providers along with the current available treatment options.
Despite all the information regarding advanced medical treatments being readily available to patients through the wide variety of media including print, television and the internet patients can find themselves lost in the maze of provider and treatment options.
The recommendations from a primary care physician are very useful when choosing the right specialist. Primary care physicians have a broad exposure to patient problems and are a great source for specialist referrals. The primary care physician should be included in all patient correspondence and be informed about their patients’ test results and future treatment plans through ongoing communication from the specialist physician.
A good starting point when researching specialty providers is the practice’s website. The depth of content and the completeness of each physician’s training record are important aspects to review. From a practice website, patients should gather and determine what percentage of the practice is dedicated to the physician’s area of specialty training and whether that area is applicable to the patient’s specific health issues.
Perhaps the most important piece of homework patients can do on their own is to take advantage of any free in-office screenings when they are offered. This enables patients to meet the doctor and their staff, gather information and literature regarding the physician’s practice, their medical training and qualifications, and treatments offered. Any other information gathered regarding their specific condition should be considered a bonus. Screenings generally are very brief encounters and are not meant to take the place of a consult.
As a board certified Vascular Surgeon, I made the conscious decision 10 years ago shift gears from arterial vascular surgery outpatient venous disease management. This shift from hospital based patient care to outpatient venous care has allowed me to take the time I need to take a more detailed venous history from my patients. Many of our patients have a family history of venous insufficiency or varicose veins. Pregnancies and occupations which involve standing for long periods of time are also contributing factors to venous insufficiency. Many of these patients were once considered untreatable because the vein stripping procedure was so invasive and “dangerous”. Since stripping is no longer performed, and the techniques we have to offer can be performed in the office under local anesthesia with minimal downtime, many of these patients once thought to be too sick, too old, too obese, or too young for the antiquated stripping technique are great candidates for the Endovenous Closure procedure. This vein sealing procedure is scientifically directed with ultrasound, is minimally invasive and produces predictable improvement, if not cure, of patients’ vein related problems.