Finding a doctor can be a complicated and confusing process. Finding someone that you can trust and build an effective relationship with to manage your health can be difficult, and overwhelming, but it does not have to be. Rather than overwhelm yourself by browsing through the hundreds of thousands of healthcare providers, follow these tips to make sure that the heart doctor you select will be experienced, professional, and make you feel comfortable and confident about your level of care.

1. Use Word of Mouth for Good Leads

One of the first places people often look when searching for a new physician to treat their illnesses and manage their health is online, through an Internet search for local physicians. However, it is often far better to be referred to a doctor through a friend, family member, or co-worker. Often they will be able to not only tell you whether they are a good doctor to go see, but can explain why. For instance, if they had a winning bedside manner, or if they show their patients extra care and attention.

2. Communication is Key

Although there are good doctors and bad doctors, there is one thing within your control that will improve your relationship with your physician and make sure you get the care you deserve, more than any other thing. That is communication. If your physician is unable to communicate with you, or does not fit with your communication style, you may have a hard time getting answers to your questions. You should feel safe and comfortable talking to your doctor about even the most embarrassing bodily issues.

3. Check Credentials

Although you are bound to get great referrals through word of mouth, and some of those referrals will have compatible communications styles with you, it pays to do your due diligence and check out any physician's credentials you may be considering. Your doctor should have a current and active board certification, and is board certified in the area of ​​care you are seeking. If they are not board certified, you should definitely ask why, and maybe consider a different doctor.

4. Finding a Heart Specialist

While the above tips can help you find a general care physician, they can also help you find doctors that cover specific types of care or illnesses. More often than not, you primary care physician will give you a recommendation to a heart-specific doctor, or any other type of doctor you may need. Your primary care doctor is one of your largest assets in finding a great cardiologist, because they already know you, your personality, and the level of care that you need and deserve. This can also help make your life easier, because your doctor can easily share your medical history documents with your cardiac surgeon.