Choosing a physician, whether a primary care doctor or a specialist, is one of the most personal decisions you’ll make. A quality doctor-patient relationship is one that’s built on trust. If you’re choosing an ear, nose, and throat doctor in Anchorage, Alaska, there are some important factors to keep in mind.
What Is an ENT Doctor’s Role?
An otolaryngologist—usually referred to as an ENT doctor—guides decisions about preventing or treating conditions that affect your ears, nose, throat, and related structures in your head and neck. These conditions can include allergies, sinus issues, diseases that affect the ears, throat ailments, and a range of concerns involving the head and neck.
ENT physicians can also perform specialized surgical procedures, such as septoplasty, thyroid surgery, and tonsillectomy.
Here’s a guide to help you select an ENT doctor:
Get referrals: Your primary care physician is a good place to start when looking for an ENT doctor. Asking trusted family members or friends is another source of referrals, in addition to other healthcare providers you see. If a specific doctor or ENT practice is mentioned often, that’s obviously a good place to start your search.
Check out credentials: You can do this even before scheduling your first consultation. Ensuring that the doctor is a board-certified otolaryngologist is an important step. Board certification means the doctor has the necessary training, skills, and experience to provide health care in otolaryngology. Checking the physician’s educational background and training is also helpful.
Ask about experience: Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, schedule an initial consultation. During the meeting, ask if the doctor has focused training in specific areas of the ENT specialty, especially if you’re looking to treat a certain condition. Find out if the doctor has fellowship training in a subspecialty related to your diagnosis. The more experience an ENT has with a condition or procedure, the better your results are likely to be.
Find out about telehealth options: Having the option of scheduling virtual appointments can be an important consideration (especially during an Alaska winter). Learn how they conduct these appointments and how they ensure their security.
Read patient reviews: Similar to referrals, reviews from a physician’s current or past patients describing their experiences can help guide your choice. Testimonials and reviews posted on reputable, independent websites such as Healthgrades® are good places to look.
Know what insurance coverage is accepted: Getting the most out of your insurance benefits is a practical matter. Even if you need to choose an otolaryngologist who participates in your plan, you should still consider credentials, experience, and outcomes when making a choice.
One more thing: If you’re looking for a pediatric ENT doctor, evaluating the provider’s ability to communicate with children is important (even if you’ll be having most of the conversations with the physician).
At ACENT, our doctors are all board-certified, and each brings their own special interests and focused training to our team. If you’re looking in the Anchorage area for an ENT doctor, you can request a consultation using the online form or call us at (907) 279-8800 to schedule an appointment with one of our physicians.