Choosing an orthopedic surgeon is like finding a hair stylist; you want someone that does excellent work and is easy to talk to. Okay, maybe there’s a few more stipulations when it comes to orthopedic surgeons, but you get the idea.
Your health is your most valuable asset. Picking an orthopedic surgeon is a major decision and it’s important to find one you feel comfortable with and can trust. Below we’ve listed some of the key items to consider before selecting your surgeon:
- Insurance – It is always best to contact your insurance provider to confirm which doctors are in-network with your insurance plan before scheduling an appointment. Many practices also provide a list of accepted insurance plans on their website (link to CAO’s insurance page).
- Experience – An orthopedic surgeon’s experience isn’t just commensurate with how many years they have been practicing. Also take into consideration the number of specific surgeries they have performed and their success rate. You may also want to consider if they are knowledgeable about the most up-to-date technology, latest practices in their field and if they conduct continuous research in their area of expertise.
- Credentials/Qualifications – Board certification and fellowship training are great indicators that an orthopedic surgeon is highly qualified. Dr. Bicalho is board certified in orthopedic surgery through The American Board of Physician Specialties in Orthopedic Surgery. Dr. Grebing received his board certification through the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery.
As the American Board of Medical Specialties states, “Board Certification demonstrates a physician’s exceptional expertise in a particular specialty and/or subspecialty of medical practice . . . It challenges physicians to focus on the continuous development of their skill set . . . Board Certification and ABMS MOC are peer-developed, externally validated programs which serve as important markers for a higher standard of care. They reflect the critical core physician values of compassion, patient-centeredness, and a passion for education.”
Orthopedic surgeons can apply to subspecialty fellowship programs for an additional year of training towards a specialized orthopedic surgery. By completing a fellowship they are considered experts in that specialty field.
For instance, both Dr. Grebing and Dr. Bicalho are fellowship trained. Dr. Grebing completed fellowship training in foot and ankle surgery at the Idaho Foot and Ankle Fellowship Program. Dr. Bicalho performed his fellowship in joint replacement surgery at the Missouri Bone and Joint Center / Barnes Jewish West County Hospital.
- Communication/Bedside Manner – According to a recent study by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, 59% of Americans felt the physician-patient relationship and the physician’s personality were most important when discerning high-quality physicians.
While experience and qualifications are important when choosing an orthopedic surgeon, the surgeon’s bedside manner can also improve the entire doctor-patient experience. The physician should be attentive, compassionate, a good listener and take the time with each patient to fully explain procedures and answer any questions.
- Reviews – Online reviews via com, Vitals.com, Google or even on social media sites like Facebook are extremely helpful when researching physicians. These reviews can also provide information about the practice’s staff, ease of scheduling appointments and wait times.
- Referrals/Ask a Friend – While online reviews provide insight about a physician, it’s always good to get a referral from someone you personally know and trust. Patients typically place higher value on a family member, friend, or referring physician’s opinion moreso than an anonymous online review.
We understand that the selection process can be overwhelming. We are happy to answer any questions you might have. Dr. Bicalho and Dr. Grebing, are both fellowship trained, board certified, have excellent reviews and published research.
If you’re in need of compassionate, caring and qualified orthopedic surgeon, please call to schedule an appointment at 618-288-9460 or visit www.c4ao.com for more information.