A patient's good relationship with their doctor is one of the most important determiners of good health care. Medical studies have shown that when patients trust their doctors and feel comfortable talking openly with doctors, the quality of care improves. Patients should be able to expect a competent doctor who listens to them and understands the patient's concerns.
Doctors hold an important spot in a patient's life. Patients trust that their doctors are making good decisions for their health.
When that trust is gone, it may be time for a new doctor. Leaving a doctor can be a big deal, especially if a patient has a long history with that doctor. Sometimes, the change might be worth it. Here are 6 signs it might be time for a new doctor.
Your instincts are telling you something is wrong
Many people stay with their doctors because they inherently trust all doctors or feel like changing doctors will become too much of a hassle. Trust in a doctor is not the only an important part of a doctor-patient relationship, but it is a significant factor in determining the quality of care the patient ultimately receives.
Your doctor doesn't listen to you
A patient's communication with their doctor is actually an important medical tool. Good patient-physician communication can lead to better diagnoses when doctors are able to clearly understand symptoms and worries of the patient. If your doctor disregards your concerns and symptoms, it might be time to change doctors.
The office is messy or disorganized
Doctors and their health care staffs are responsible for many administrative duties. Answering phones, scheduling patients, following up after visits, and relaying important health information are all part of the daily duties at a doctor's office. Offices that cannot properly maintain patient communication and scheduling do not deserve the patient's time.
Your doctor refuses a second opinion
Doctors are not trained to know about every disease and medical condition; they train in a specific area and master one type of care. If a doctor provides a patient with a diagnosis that seems off or seems to have knowledge gaps about a patient's condition, the patient has the right to ask for a second opinion. Some health plans require referrals from primary care physicians in order to see other specialty doctors. The standard of care tells doctors to refer patients to other specialists when that specialist could provide better treatment.
Your doctor lacks credentials
Doctors should have the professional and educational experience necessary to practice in their field. Board certification in the doctor's area of focus is the most basic way of knowing a doctor maintains these credentials. But board certification does not guarantee that the doctor is good. Patients can check the doctor's state medical board record and recent re-certifications to ensure that the doctor is practicing at the required level of care.
Your doctor doesn't follow contemporary standards
As part of the required standard of care, doctors should keep up-to-date with medical studies, new medications and treatments, and new technologies in their field. Patients can look at medical board websites online to see if their doctor is up-to-date.