TMS is a breakthrough treatment for mental health conditions such as anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and major depression. Because it is so new, you may not know what to look for in a competent TMS provider or facility. Just like every patient is unique, each provider may have a slightly different approach to treatment. As no one provider is perfect for every patient, we have identified seven key questions that will lead you to the best TMS provider for you.
1. Is The Provider In-Network?
The starting point for finding a provider is often with your insurance company. You can narrow your search by searching your insurance provider’s database to see which providers are covered in your area. Most providers of TMS to treat depression, including major depressive disorder (MDD) and treatment resistant depression, will also offer a free consultation where you can talk about insurance coverage and what your associated costs for treatment will be.
2. Does The Provider Specialize In TMS?
It is important to find a provider and clinic specializing in TMS therapy. It should not be a secondary service that is offered. You should be able to find the provider’s background on their website. If not, call the office and ask about their providers. You are looking for board-certified providers in neuroscience and psychiatry with specializations in TMS therapy.
3. Is The Treatment Team Experienced?
In addition to finding an expert in TMS therapy, you want them to have an experienced treatment team. They will be the ones administering your treatments. You are looking for registered nurses or clinical technicians that have backgrounds in mental health, biologic sciences or psychology with the proper TMS treatment certifications. It’s a bonus if you can find a treatment team that has worked together for a number of years, as treatments tend to move faster with an established team.
4. Do They Customize Care and Handle Special Cases?
Just as every provider is different, every patient is unique. TMS therapy isn’t exactly the same for every patient. Your provider should have an initial consultation to determine the appropriate treatment course for you. A thorough appointment will take some time. If the provider quotes 30 minutes or less for your intake appointment, you should be wary that they may not customize your treatment for your specific needs. If you have special circumstances or another condition, check with the provider to see if they have previous experience treating similar cases.
5. Do They Coordinate With Your Other Out Patient Provider For Your Care Continuum?
As with any specialized practice, your TMS provider should coordinate with your other outpatient care that manages your medications and psychotherapy. Research shows that TMS patients are more responsive to both drug and talk therapy during and after TMS treatment, so it is vital for your doctors to coordinate. Your referring providers should be welcome for an office tour and in-house presentation if requested. Your TMS provider should also provide you with a comprehensive summary of your TMS treatment. This information will allow your referring physician to evaluate your progress and the need to continue or modify other treatments.
6. Do They Track Their Patient Outcomes and Provide Data?
Reviews, success stories, satisfaction surveys, and follow-up questionnaires are just a few of the ways for a TMS office to track patient outcomes for future patients. You should be able to ask for data that illustrates the success of their treatments. A provider invested in their patient’s care from start to finish will be able to provide satisfactory information on their outcomes.
7. Was Your Initial Visit Comfortable?
Finally, a provider can look perfect on paper, but it comes down to how you feel during your visit. A TMS provider should have a calm and comfortable treatment area where you can relax during your session. You should feel confident in the competency of the staff to execute your therapy plan, as discussed. If you don’t walk away from your initial consultation trusting the TMS provider, it may be worth exploring a second option.
Finding the right provider can be straightforward instead of overwhelming by answering these seven questions. The provider should specialize in TMS therapy and have an experienced treatment team to support them. They should be able to customize their care to support your unique circumstances and coordinate with your referring doctor. Most importantly, you should feel good about putting your health in their hands after your initial consultation. If it doesn’t check all the boxes for you, there is nothing wrong with looking elsewhere. You are important and should feel empowered to choose the best TMS provider for your care.