How to choose the best medical specialist for you

  • October 13, 2020
best medical specialist for you

Private health insurance in Australia allows patients to select the medical specialist or surgeon they want to visit. This flexibility ensures you remain in control of your health, but how do you know which specialist is right for you? What questions should you ask to find out?

At Smart Referral, we simplify this choice, by collating the potential specialists you can visit based on your referral letter. After matching you to relevant specialists, we outline their fees, experience, and availability in a detailed review.

Here are the most important questions to consider when choosing the right specialist for you.

1. When is the next available appointment?

Medical specialists often have long waitlists due to high demand. While most people in the private system only have to wait a few weeks, some specialists are booked out months in advance. Your Smart Referral review will show the exact date of each specialist’s next available appointment, helping you to plan ahead.

2. Where is the specialist located?

How long will it take you to travel to your specialist? Is there an equally qualified practitioner 30 minutes closer to home? While the location shouldn’t be the key factor in your decision, it should be considered. Particularly if you need regular treatments, thinking about location now will make future trips more convenient and accessible. Remember to check the specialist’s location on your Smart Referral review.

3. Does the specialist have experience or expertise treating my condition?

If your GP refers you to a particular specialist, it is because practitioners in that field can diagnose or treat your condition. In saying this, a medical specialist may complete further training to become an expert in a specific condition.

For example, if you require surgery on your knee, you may be referred to an orthopaedic surgeon. However, it would be preferable for you to visit an orthopaedic surgeon that specialises in knees, not shoulders. On your Smart Referral review, you can learn about each specialist’s expertise and experience to confirm they are the right match for you.

4. How much is the consultation fee?

Don’t wait until after your appointment to find out how much you will be charged. Consultation fees for specialists can be expensive and cost can be a major barrier to accessing care. When selecting a specialist on Smart Referral, you can view the full consultation fee.

5. Is there a Medicare rebate?

Medicare is a government health scheme making health care more accessible to all Australians. Depending on the type of specialist you visit and the treatment you require, you may be eligible for a Medicare rebate. In addition to outlining the consultation fee, your Smart Referral review shows the relevant Medicare rebate, so you know the exact out-of-pocket cost.

6. Are there any other fees I will be required to pay?

Specialist care often involves medical tests and procedures which can incur an additional cost. In your Smart Referral review, your specialist is required to list any applicable fees so that you are aware of the potential financial commitment before your treatment.

Personal and professional recommendations

Ask your family and friends for their specialist recommendations and past experiences. While personal reviews can provide valuable insight, remember that your specific condition may require a practitioner with different expertise.

Your GP is also an excellent resource; asking for a list of recommended specialists as opposed to one can help your selection process.

Selecting the best practitioner for you

You have the power to choose your medical specialist. Upload your letter to Smart Referral today and use these questions to guide your selection.

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Specialisations we are currently accepting in NSW

  • Cardio-thoracic Surgeon
  • Cardiologist
  • Dermatologist
  • Endocrinologist
  • Gastroenterologist
  • General Surgeon
  • Geriatrician
  • Haematologist
  • Immunologist and Allergist
  • Nephrologist
  • Neurologist
  • Neurosurgeon
  • Obstetrician and Gynaecologist
  • Ophthalmologist
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon
  • Orthopaedic Surgeon
  • Otolaryngologist
  • Paediatrician
  • Pain Medicine Physician
  • Plastic Surgeon
  • Psychiatrist
  • Respiratory and Sleep Medicine Physician
  • Rheumatologist
  • Sport and Exercise Physician
  • Urologist
  • Vascular Surgeon