It sounds scary doesn’t it: internal medicine doctor. Most people hear the phrase, coming from their family doctor’s lips and they panic. It can’t be a good thing to be referred to a medical professional who is known as a doctor’s doctor can it? Actually it’s not as scary as it might sound. An internal medicine doctor is also known as an internist, not to be mixed up with a doctor in training known as an intern.
An internist is highly skilled and trained to diagnosis and treat adult diseases. This is the doctor who specializes in one area of your health and can generally figure out symptoms that can stump your family doctor who does not specialize in one area of the body. Think of Dr. House on the television series and you are on the right page to understand what an internist does.
Your internal medicine doctor will generally not be as vague as Dr. House with a specialty though. Many internists specialize in one subspecialty such as a cardiologist who is a heart doctor or a doctor who only treats infectious disease or geriatrics. There are as many sub specialists as there are diseases and body parts to treat and way too many to list here.
So a referral to an internist shouldn’t be anything to panic you now that you realize that an internal medicine doctor can be someone with the specialty skills and training to treat very specific health issues such as heart disease or infectious disease.
Once you get a referral however you should do your own due diligence to make sure the doctor you have been referred to is the doctor you want to see. A simple check can give you information about your internist’s training, education and skills and help you feel more confident that this is the doctor to help you.
If however you don’t feel the referral is a good match after you have seen the doctor, be sure to contact your family health professional and request the names of a few other doctors as well. You are perfectly within your rights to get a second or even a third opinion if you are unhappy with your diagnose or the treatment options presented to you.
However, you should also remember that an internist is a specialist and they usually know what they are doing and what they are looking at. So if you are getting the same information from your second opinion as you got from your first opinion it may be time to accept a diagnoses and stop looking for a new internist to give you a third or fourth opinion and start working on your treatment plan.
An internal medicine doctor can benefit you by managing your healthcare in a collaborative way with other physicians. To find a good one please see the following: http://www.angieslist.com/.