When a patient has a chronic condition, it is extremely important that they have continuity of care. Doctors need to make a concerted effort to communicate about their patients’ progress and to determine how they can best be treated.
No matter how hard doctors try to coordinate care between themselves, important items are always missed. Rather than spreading their efforts, it is generally better for a patient with a chronic condition to have their care directed by one physician.
Dr. Randall (Randy) Gibb, a gynecologic oncologist, explains the dangers of having uncoordinated care and why a single primary care doctor or specialist should be chosen to be a point person.
Care for Serious Conditions
As the population ages, more patients are presenting with serious conditions. Diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and kidney disease are only a few examples of the many chronic conditions that can damage a person’s health and reduce their life span.
The danger of having uncoordinated care means that a significant symptom or comorbid condition could possibly be missed. This means that a patient’s condition could spiral out of control while it is not being properly monitored.
Some patients may also engage in “doctor shopping,” or splintering their care among multiple doctors without their knowledge. This may be an effort to get more prescription medication, or it may be because a patient is not satisfied with the care or diagnosis they are receiving from one physician alone. This is a poor strategy and will harm patients in the end.
To prevent doctor shopping, physicians should be aware of all of the factors that may drive patients away from their office. An inconvenient location, unfriendly staff, long waiting times, inconvenient hours, and poor communication between the patient and physician could cause a patient to look elsewhere for care. A lack of trust in the primary physician is also a reason why a patient may try to find care elsewhere without telling the primary physician that they are doing so.
Cancer is one of the deadliest diseases in the United States. Over 606,000 people died of cancer in the calendar year 2019. The deadliest cancers are breast cancer for women and prostate cancer for men.
Coordinated care is especially crucial with a cancer diagnosis. Cancer can affect multiple bodily systems, and it should be treated with care and concern at all times. A coordinating physician can make sure that a patient is receiving the proper tests and screenings that could catch cancer in its earliest stages before it becomes a serious and life-threatening problem.
A serious condition like gynecologic cancer needs to be treated by one physician. Gynecologic cancers include cervical cancer, uterine cancer, and ovarian cancer. All three of these conditions can be seriously damaging to a patient’s health and lifespan if they are not caught early enough. It is well known that the rate of survival for patients with this type of cancer is greater if they are seen by a gynecologic oncologist.
The gynecologic oncologist has dual duties and as such has the best perspective on gynecological cancers. Gynecologic oncologists are able to perform surgery and deliver chemotherapy, eliminating the need for an additional oncologist to be brought in.
Qualifications of a Gynecologic Oncologist
A gynecologic oncologist has gone to medical school and completed a residency in obstetrics and gynecology. They have also received specialty training in gynecologic oncology. After this training, gynecologic oncologists may take both the gynecologic oncology board exam and the obstetrics and gynecology board exam.
Where Gynecologic Oncologists Can Be Found
When a patient is searching for a gynecologic oncologist, they may find that they are closer to home than they would expect. These physicians frequently work at hospitals and in-hospital network care centers. While some rural and underserved areas may necessitate travel to see a gynecologic oncologist, most suburban and urban areas have the physicians which women need to protect themselves from these types of cancer.
The Spectrum of Care
A gynecologic oncologist will work directly with a patient’s primary care physician to coordinate their cancer treatment. The primary care physician needs to be kept up to speed regarding conditions that may connect with gynecologic cancer.
Patients with gynecologic cancer are often frightened and in need of reassurance. Gynecologic oncologists are uniquely skilled in helping patients come to terms with their diagnosis and shepherding them through their medical treatment with care and compassion.
Bringing Hope to Patients
With properly coordinated care by a gynecologic oncologist, cancer patients can be reassured that they are receiving the best possible treatment for their condition. These oncologists are highly experienced and are able to treat problems that other physicians may find too difficult. Randy Gibb emphasizes the need for patients with these types of cancer to see a gynecologic oncologist.