When we’re having issues with our digestive system, we may need to see a gastroenterologist (GI), a doctor who specializes in the treatment of conditions of the digestive tract, esophagus, liver, stomach, intestines, colon and liver. Some conditions that GI doctors treat include:
While there are many reputable GI doctors, some outshine others, and those top physicians are the ones we want to see. Here are 6 qualities of a top GI doctor.
A trusted GI doctor should be:
Board-certified. It’s important your GI doctor is a board-certified physician. This status verifies your physician has met all requirements related to diagnosing and treating gastrointestinal conditions. Find out if your GI doctor is board certified.
Highly rated. The internet has made it easier than ever for patients to publicly rate their physicians, allowing us to more deliberately choose the right physician for us. Be a smart consumer and research the rating of your potential GI doctors here or here.
Equipped with advanced procedural technology. GI doctors use a variety of scoping procedures to diagnose and treat a range of GI conditions. Top GI doctors should have access to advanced procedural technology that allows them to preform minimally invasive, non-surgical procedures preventing or treating GI conditions. Read your GI doctor’s website to verify that he or she has the technology to perform endoscopies, sigmoidoscopies, polypectomies and colonoscopies.
Friendly and easy to talk to. Having a good bedside manner is key for most patients. We want a doctor who is sympathetic and makes us feel comfortable enough to ask questions and relay our concerns. A top GI doctor is amiable and tries to empathize with patients. As a result, patients are more motivated to follow through with the treatment plan and heed the doctor’s protocol.
A good listener. A good GI physician needs to have specialized interviewing skills and should be able to clarify details for the patient. Such a doctor listens closely and carefully to diagnose the patient, being attentive not only to what the patient is saying, but what the patient might not be saying.
Knowledgeable. You wouldn’t want a doctor who was still treating patients with medical knowledge from the last century. Top GI doctors are knowledgeable in their areas of expertise yet also current on the latest research in the field. They quickly recall what they learned in medical school but also know how to incorporate new research into practice. Most patients do not care if their doctor attended an Ivy League medical school; they want to know how many surgeries the doctor has performed and that he or she is competent to handle their particular case.
Regardless of your past experiences, a good gastroenterologist can mean the difference between life and death. Do your research, consult family and friends for referrals and find a specialist in your area that is right for you. You deserve the best!