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Contacting Experts HELP
An assumption

This page applies when the expert is a physician who sees patients.

How do I make an appointment with an expert?

Call their office and ask! Expertscape helps you find their phone numbers.

Should I email the expert?

No. Do not email the expert. It is far better to use whatever normal communications mechanisms the expert's office has set up.

Most experts have an office assistant to help field inquiries from new patients. These assistants are the right people to talk to initially. Some institutions have online methods to contact experts. It is perfectly fine to use those, too.

Will the expert's office take my call?

Yes. Experts know that medicine is a service business, catering to people at the most vulnerable of times. If an expert or their office is rude or condescending, move on. Don't tolerate this.

Will the expert see me as a patient?

Maybe. Not so long ago, some experts would only see patients who were referred to them by another doctor. This practice is declining, but you may still encounter it. Nowadays, most experts are happy to see as many patients as they can.

Of course, some experts may be unable to see you promptly because of their full schedule. It is your decision whether to wait or to try someone else.

What will the expert's office ask me?

If they are willing to see you, they will almost certainly ask about your medical insurance. You should have that information in front of you when you call.

They may also ask:

  • When can you come in for an appointment? — So have your calendar ready when you call.
  • Who is your regular doctor and what is their address? — Many experts will write a letter to your doctor summarizing their evaluation of you. This is generally good practice, but you can ask the expert not to do this if you have special circumstances.
  • Do you have medical records related to your problem? — If you have a new problem, there may be no medical records related to it. But if there are test results or doctors' notes about your problem, it is highly advisable that you share these with the expert, preferably in advance of your visit.
What should I ask the expert's office?

By all means ask how much they charge for a consultation. In the United States, do not expect a straight answer.

You may also want to ask about board certification and the expert's formal medical training, but that is best done before you decide to make an appointment. For American-trained physicians, you can check with the American Board of Medical Specialties.

If you are going to visit from out of town, ask for tips about lodging and local travel.

What if the expert won't see me?

Ask his or her office whom they would recommend. It would be very surprising if experts did not know of other experts in several geographic areas, including their own.

Experts may know "invisible" experts. That is, not all experts show up in the Expertscape system (see Limitations of Expertscape). But experts tend to know other experts — both visible and invisible ones.

Many experts are senior people. They may have junior colleagues they have taught. These junior colleagues are often less busy than the senior people and are likely to approach problems in the same manner as their senior mentors. Of course, junior people may have less experience. It will be your call on how much you value experience.