Why might I need to see a specialist?

Your primary care physician has a wealth of knowledge in a broad range of subject matters, but if they feel you need more in-depth care for a condition from which you might be suffering, they will refer you to a specialist who will be better equipped to handle the condition.

A specialist will have more insight into your condition and will be able to better recommend a course of treatment. Specialists are experts in a particular area and are the best source to find a treatment.

What questions should I ask my healthcare provider?

There are several questions you may want to ask your healthcare provider if he/she has recommended that you see a specialist. Please click here for a printable list.

  • What does this specialist do?
  • What will this specialist do for me differently than what you do?
  • Is there someone specific you recommend or have worked with before?
  • Are they covered under my insurance?
  • What will this specialist be looking for?
  • What are the possible next steps after seeing the specialist?

How do I select a specialist?

You should first ask your healthcare provider if there is anyone that they recommend. Next, check with your insurance to see if that specialist is covered, and, if not, which specialists are. If you go to someone in-network, your specialist visits will cost less.

Some websites also offer information on specialists in your area. Click here for a list of some of those sites.

What should I bring with me to my appointment with the specialist?

It is important that you bring key pieces of information to your initial visit with your specialist. Please click here for a printable list.

  • Medical records
  • Information from your visit with your primary care physician
  • Friend or caregiver
  • Drug history
  • List of alternative therapies you may be using
  • Journal of symptoms
  • List of questions and something to take notes on

Where can I find more information about this specialty?

Your healthcare provider will be able to give you background. For more information on specialties, we have included some resources available on our helpful links page.