We believe that the chances that specialist doctors are amongst the best ones to deal with are increased enormously, if, (1) they have an ordinary email address, and, (2) they have a track record of providing reasonable responses to reasonable emails sent to them.
(We’re not talking here about providing medical advice by email – we can understand doctors saying that we can’t expect this.)
If doctors are like this, to us it indicates:-
(1) That they are into communication. (Some doctors aren’t into communication even if you are sitting right in front of them.) After all, ordinary email addresses are by far the easiest means of us sending them anything – far easier than email forms or faxes.
(2) That they are prepared to put things in writing. Some doctors are not prepared to do this in any circumstances, obviously because they’re not prepared to stand behind the things they say. And if you can’t get anything from them in writing it makes things much more difficult to get second opinions and so on.
(What we do and advocate is that after you’ve had a consultation with a doctor, you send them an email along the lines of – “In our our consultation today I understood you to say such and such – have I got this right?” Then all they have to do hopefully is say yes, which is the very least you should expect.
So how do we locate doctors like this?
With the internet it’s easy – you just send them an email asking them something. To a certain extent it doesn’t matter what you ask, but our practice is to outline the problem or problems for which we need help, and asking them, “Is helping those with this problem or these problems within your areas of expertise?” And, of course, if doctors won’t give you at least a one word answer to this question – “yes” or “no” – then they are certainly not amongst the best doctors you can consult, in fact, we think you’re mad wasting any time and money on them.
So what we do is send out 15 to 20 emails like the one we’ve described above, to the doctors who are likely to be able to help us, and we find that if we do this, we get 5 to 8 replies, and that from them it’s usually crystal clear who would be the best 1 or 2 to at least see initially.
Sending out 15 to 20 emails shouldn’t take you much more than 30 minutes, if you have the email addresses, and if you are not prepared to do this, you can’t blame anybody but yourself if you have unsatisfactory experiences with doctors chosen at random.
As to the problem of, “if you have the email addresses,” one of the things we’re doing these days is putting together lists of specialists with ordinary email addresses to address this problem. One of them is a list of over 40 Sydney Ear, Nose and Throat specialists which you can access by using this link.