Meeting A New Endocrinologist? Questions You May Want To Ask

Prior to selecting an endocrinologist for help with diabetes management, it’s a good idea to have a face to face, question-and-answer meeting with him or her.

Most physicians will meet with prospective patients to answer their questions, but the appointment will likely be limited to about 15 minutes. So, if the meeting is to be productive, it’s essential for patients to prepare a list of well thought-out questions.

What To Ask

Here are some suggested questions to ask an endocrinologist, or doctor at an initial meeting. It’s best to write selected questions down with enough space between them to record the physician’s responses.

  • Doctor and Staff. It’s helpful to know the physician’s experience with type1, or type 2 diabetes, and whether a certified diabetes educator, or diabetes-savvy dietician is available for consultation. It’s also important to learn who in the doctor’s office deals with prior authorizations—should there be a problem with acquiring supplies.
  • Availability. Patients should know how long routine office visits are, what the doctor recommends patients do when they become sick, and who to call in the middle of the night. Insulin users need to find out who handles insulin adjustment inquiries, and when that person is available.
  • Tests. Inquire how often patients are expected to test blood sugar levels, and how often an A1C test is required. Where the A1C testing is done, and the doctor's preferred A1C target score are also good to know. Type 1, and some type 2 patients might want the physician's guidelines for ketone testing.
  • Protocols. Learn the doctor’s protocols for treating hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), for treating glucose levels at or above 300 mg/dL, and when the physician recommends glucagon.
  • Pumps and Monitors. Patients on insulin might inquire whether the doctor is knowledgeable about today’s insulin pumps, whether he or she knows how to adjust pumps, and if pumps and meters are downloaded at each office visit. A physician’s experience with patients wearing continuous glucose monitors—also good to know.

Taking a family member or friend along to record the doctor’s responses will make an initial meeting more relaxing for some patients. Plus, it never hurts to have an extra set of ears in the room—they can pick up important information that a nervous new patient might miss.

For those whose choice of medical providers is limited by locale or insurance protocol, preparing a list of questions for the first office visit - and requesting time to ask them - may prove helpful.

Sources: Insulin Nation; Milo, Joanne Laufer, The Savvy Diabetic: A Survival Guide, 3 Dog Art Press, 2013.

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