Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do I choose my physician?

We often have patients showing up at our office for appointments because they found our name in the phone book or their insurance directory. This is a terrible way of choosing a physician. These patients put more thought into buying a car than choosing their doctor. The latter decision is much more important. Do your research. You need to make sure your physician is qualified. The internet is an amazing source of information that was never available before. Make good use of it. Then talk to your friends and neighbors for their recommendations. Better yet talk to any physicians and nurses you know, they are usually in a better position to evaluate other physicians. When you do choose a physician, keep asking lots of questions. If you are unhappy with your existing physician, change. You trust your life and health to this professional. Make sure she or he is the right one.

2. What questions should I ask my obstetrician gynecologist?

Below are a few of the questions that would be helpful in evaluating a practice. We recommend that you copy these questions for your next physician visit. If they are too busy to answer them, then maybe they are too busy for you.

  • How long have you been in practice?
  • Are you board certified?
  • What is your complication rate?
  • What is your cesarean section rate?
  • How busy is your practice? How many deliveries do you do a month? What is the average waiting time? How long do I have to wait for an appointment?
  • Who will be delivering me?
  • Where will I be delivered?
  • What do other people say about your practice?
  • How is the support staff?

In the following paragraphs, we will try to answer these questions in regard to our practice. Other information is available on each of our physicians on the Our Staff page. If you have any further questions, please feel free to bring these up either by phone or email or better yet during your next appointment.

3. How long have you been in practice?

Newly graduated physicians will lack clinical experience, but may have more current understanding of newer techniques and technologies. The older physicians will have more experience, but may lack adequate training on the newer procedures. Your preferences here determine how you will to be treated. Dr. Cuong Nguyen has been in practice for sixteen years, all here in the Houston area. Consequently, he is well trained in the latest technologies and surgical techniques such as advanced ultrasound and minimally invasive laparoscopic surgeries. Moreover, he has had sixteen years of experience to hone those skills.

4. Are you board certified?

Board certification is one of the last few steps of the medical training process. Board certified physicians must have adequately completed the required residency or fellowship and pass the final board certification exam. If someone has not completed this final process, you must ask why. Dr. Nguyen has been board certified since 1999.

5. What is your complication rate?

This is a difficult number to quantify as the definition of complication is not always clear. You can obtain this information from the anesthesiologists or nurses who have a cross sectional view of the practicing physicians in the area. Arguably, we have one of the lowest rates in Sugar Land. We believe that attention to details, and meticulous surgical skills make a big difference here.

6. What is your cesarean section rate?

This rate, on the other hand, is finite and not subject to observer bias. It is calculated by dividing the number of cesarean section by the total number of deliveries. This number is not important if you do not care how you are going to be delivered. But, if your goal is for a natural delivery, you do not want to sign up with someone with a 50% or higher cesarean rate. Unless you ask, they will not tell you. We have one of the lowest rates in the city at approximately 12%. They key to acheiving this low rate is patients and limited intervention. The birthing process is a natural process for us since the begining of mankind. The vast majority of these are normal. With the advent of modern medicine, we have developed techniques to help with the rare abnormal cases. But we also have the tendency to over treat and intervene in perfectly normal process. As long as both the mother and baby are doing well, we believe that you should be allowed to complete the process naturally without induction, forceps, vacuum, or cesarean section.

7. How do you feel about epidural?

Childbirth is a painful experience. Every one's pain tolerance and desire for their birthing experience is different. Therefore, we think that each birthing process should be individualized to each patient. The choice of epidural like everything else in the birthing process should be individualized to each's tolerance and preferences. Approximately 80% of patients at Methodist Sugarland Hospital do request epidural. There are also alternative pain managmenet methods. That choice is left to you.

8. How busy is your practice? How many deliveries do you do a month? What is the average waiting time? How long do I have to wait for an appointment?

The answer to these questions will determine your experience at that physician's office. There are only a certain number of hours in a work day. If a physician sees 40 patients a day and delivers 30 patients a month, how much time is he or she spending with each patient? How much time is he or she spending with you? An occasional delay in appointment schedule is unavoidable in an ob/gyn office, but is it acceptable to routinely wait more than 60 minutes for all your appointments? We do not think so. We value our patients' time just as much as we value ours. We put limits on the number of patients we schedule for each physician each day at 25. Of course, there are rare emergencies that we have to add on the same day. We see most of our patients within 30 minutes of their appointment time. On those occasions of unscheduled deliveries or emergency surgeries, we make every effort to inform our scheduled patients prior to their arrival. Also, we do not believe that delivering more than an average of 15 patients per physician per month is wise. Too many deliveries in too busy of a practice increase the chance for medical errors. Moreover, all our staff members have active family lives which we very much value. To make good compassionate physicians, we must have a good balance between our home life and our medical practice.

9. Who will be delivering me?

A current trend in obstetrics is the formation of large call groups. This would allow the physician to see a large number of patients during the work hours and take some time off during the evening. We do not think this is such a good idea for the patient-physician relationship. From the patient's view, why would you invest nine months, your emotions, and your trust in a relationship with your physician only to be treated by a stranger at your most vulnerable time? We are proud of the fact that our patients here at the center, are delivered by their physician 95% of the time. The other 5% (usually during out of town vacations or continuing medical education meetings) are delivered by other assigned physicians with similar practice style.

10. Where will I be delivered?

Another trend is for these large groups to set up satellite clinics. That way they can see a lot more patients each day than is available to them if they were at a single location. Then when it comes time for delivery they send patients into the main hospital, often more than 60 minutes away, where one of their colleagues can jointly take care of all the patients in the group. It is a clever way to increase business. Just make sure you are willing to make that drive when you are in labor and that you are willing to be cared for by another physician in the group. We deliver all of our patients at Sugar Land Methodist Hospital.

11. What do other people say about your practice?

This question may be more appropriate for your friends, neighbors, other physicians and nurses. Again, how physicians are viewed by their peers is an important indicator of the quality of those practices. We are proud to have as our patients many physicians, nurses and their family members. We feel that this shows a lot of support and confidence from the medical community in the care that we provide.

12. How is the support staff? Are you being treated well on the phone or is the receptionist rude? Is the staff friendly and efficient or are they curt and unhappy? Are your messages being answered promptly or are you on perpetual hold? Are you receiving your test results in a timely manner? Do you get to talk to your physician ever?

Here at the center, we often have patients transferring to us because of their previous physician's staff problems, despite the fact that they love their former physician. This is unfortunate, but it underscores our desire for well trained, well treated, and well paid support staff. Because we feel that a happy staff makes happy patients and is less likely to cause medical errors.


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