Just because you’ve been seeing the same doctor for years doesn’t mean that it isn’t time for a change. Even if you just signed up for a new doctor and only had a new patient visit, you have the freedom to go elsewhere if you desire.
There are several reasons you might need a new physician, or simply want to get rid of the one you have. This rule doesn’t just apply to your family doctor, either. Perhaps it is time for a new optometrist, dentist, therapist, chiropractor, or specialist. Read on to learn some reasons why you may need to fire your doctor and find a different one.
1. You Feel In The Dark
Do you feel like your doctor is keeping information from you, such as why he or she recommends a particular treatment or why a specific test was ordered? Does he or she use a lot of medical jargon instead of everyday words, and you can’t make sense of what he or she is saying?
Just because your doctor says something that makes sense in a medical school textbook doesn’t mean that you can understand the information. If you feel like your doctor is keeping you in the dark, it may be time to find a doctor who is more open and transparent with you.
That feeling is never comfortable. Nowadays, with problems like the opioid crisis stemming from how doctors are turning into pill-dispensing factories, you should pay attention to your gut feelings. If you feel like your doctor has something to hide – especially if he or she is not openly answering your questions – odds are, he or she does.
Feeling like your physician has something to hide may be more of a gut reaction, but there are specific things that you can look for. If he or she beats around the bush or isn’t clear about something, if he or she is hesitant about referrals, or if the diploma and medical license are not clearly displayed, then your instinct may be right. If you believe like your doctor has something to hide, then it may be time to find a new one.
Do you feel like your doctor doesn’t pay attention to what you are saying? Does he or she think that you don’t need to explain everything because he or she already knows everything? That’s a problem. You need to feel comfortable with your doctor, meaning that there is a two-way relationship.
If you think like your physician isn’t listening to what you are saying, then you won’t just feel uncomfortable; you may receive the wrong diagnosis and corresponding improper treatment. If you feel like you aren’t being heard when you are speaking with your doctor, then it may be time to find a new one.
If you feel that you need a second opinion before following through with a treatment that seems risky or unpleasant, your doctor should respect your wishes. If he or she tries to talk you out of getting a second opinion, that could be a sign that he or she is not being completely open and transparent with you about what is going on.
At the least, your physician not valuing second opinions is a sign of disrespect. At worst, your doctor may have something to hide. If your doctor doesn’t value second opinions, especially if you wish to get one, then it may be time to find a new doctor.
We’ve all heard stories of people who spend hours in the waiting room. They make an appointment and get there on time or even a few minutes early, only to be kept waiting for two hours or even longer. If your physician is more than 15 minutes late regularly, and a nurse doesn’t offer a reasonable explanation while you are waiting (not after, but during your wait), then your physician is not showing you respect.
If you have a job, then you probably had to either take off of work, get a co-worker to fill in for you, or use your day off to visit the doctor. Your time is valuable, and nobody has the right to waste it. If your doctor is making you spend a lot of time waiting, then it may be time to find a new doctor.
Maybe you can’t put your finger on what is going on, but there just seems to be a mismatch between you and your doctor. There isn’t anything in particular, and no one is “at fault” for anything. You just aren’t meshing. You want to find a doctor that you seem to click with.
Maybe you cringe a bit at your doctor’s demeanor or bedside manner, and as a result, you want to close up a little bit when you need to be open about what is going on. Not being comfortable with your doctor can lead to a delayed or even incorrect diagnosis. Instead of looking for who is to blame, you may need just to find another doctor.
You don’t just feel heard; your physician straight-up is not listening to you. Doctors are very busy people, and they have been known to make rash judgments without getting all the information necessary. After all, they’re the ones who went to medical school! Sadly, too many doctors know too much for their own good and don’t realize how much they need to listen to their patients.
If you had ever sat in the doctor’s office when the doctor literally talked over you or blatantly ignored everything you said, then you are probably resonating with this problem. If you want to avoid being a casualty of a faulty diagnosis, but your physician really is not listening to what you say, it is probably time to find another doctor.
Some of the most excellent doctors in the country have been in practice for decades. They have loads of experience that just can’t be beaten. But being in medicine means having to keep up with the latest research and technologies; doctors have to be willing to continue learning in order to meet the needs of their patients’ best. Ask for your doctor’s CV so that you can see how well he or she is keeping up with things.
What are the latest conferences that he or she attended? Does he or she have any contributions to medical journals? What kind of continuing education credit is he or she obtaining? If you feel that your doctor’s knowledge base may be outdated, you might need to find a new doctor.
Many doctors spend less than five minutes with their patients. Plenty of people feel that they are going through a drive-through – listing off their symptoms as quickly as possible before the doctor jumps to the next order. This is no way to practice medicine! This is precisely how people get the wrong diagnosis and/or the wrong prescription.
The decisions that your doctor makes regarding your treatment and care could be life-or-death ones. If he gets them wrong, then he might lose his license, but you will lose your health. If you feel that you are being rushed through your visit so that the doctor can get on to the next patient, then you need to get a new doctor.
Have you ever gone to visit your doctor and walked away, wondering why doctors are so rude? Nobody should go in for medical care and be treated inhumanely. Your doctor should respect every aspect of your person. Well-being is about mind, body, and spirit, not just the symptoms that you present with today.
If any of your concerns are trivialized, that could be hugely problematic in determining the right treatment. It could also compromise your overall well-being. If you feel that your physician is being rude to you – even only jokingly – then you may need to find a new doctor.
If your doctor views each visit as an isolated event, then he or she is going to miss the bigger picture of what is going on in your care. He or she needs to be checking your medical chart at each appointment and looking for patterns of symptoms. Maybe you are consistently presenting with mild pain, and while you may not recognize that there could be an underlying condition, your doctor should.
Checking your charts to find patterns won’t only refresh his or her memory; it will help to troubleshoot precisely what might be going on with you. If you feel like your doctor is starting from scratch at each visit instead of looking for patterns, then you may need to find another doctor.
12. You Just Don’t Feel Comfortable With Your Doctor
Healthcare is an intensely private thing. You are talking about your body, and you may need to communicate details that may feel intimate. If you don’t feel comfortable with your doctor, you will probably have trouble expressing those things and will likely miss opportunities for preventative or even life-saving treatment.
When you are comfortable with your doctor, you will be much more inclined to share personal information, thereby leading to better diagnosis and consequent treatment. If you just don’t feel like you can discuss intimate concerns with your doctor, then you probably need to find a new one.
Your primary care physician is just one person in what is known as your care team. Also involved are nurses, specialists (like a cardiologist, rheumatoid specialist, or urologist), lab technicians, surgeons, radiographers, anesthesiologists, et cetera. If you are also receiving mental healthcare, then your therapist, psychologist, and anyone else giving you care are also on your care team.
Your primary care physician should be the quarterback holding all of these different players together. If he or she isn’t reading their reports or keeping up with what they are doing, then you probably do need to find a new doctor. Otherwise, the essential aspects of your care could slip through.
If there may be something wrong with you that your doctor doesn’t have the expertise to address, then he or she needs to refer you to a specialist. Whether or not your doctor thinks that you are faking chest pains is irrelevant. And if someone feels that you are faking chest pains (or any other condition, unless you have a proven history of being melodramatic and hypochondriac), then there is definitely a problem!
If you think that you need to see a cardiologist, physical therapist, or any other specialist, then your doctor needs to be there to help you out. He or she needs to be your advocate to make sure that you get the best care possible. If he or she isn’t, then you need to find a new doctor.
15. Others Have Left Negative Reviews About Your Doctor
This is especially important if those negative reviews correspond with issues that you are having with your doctor. No, you shouldn’t trust every Yelp review to be accurate. Some people really do have bad days and take their frustration out on whoever stands in the way. They may leave a bad review out of spite.
But if you are resonating with negative reviews that someone else left about your physician, then you may need to find a new one. Don’t tough it out just to find out of these other people are right. If they are saying the same things that you are seeing for yourself, then there is a problem. The solution is to find a new doctor.
Waiting rooms aren’t meant to be exciting places, but they do reflect your doctor’s approach to healthcare. Are there old, outdated magazines that are dirty? Does a glass screen separate you from the receptionist, making you feel right away that there isn’t much openness between patients and the doctor? Or is there free Wi-Fi, ample lighting, and informative posters and magazines?
If the receptionist immediately offers you a bottle of water or another complementary snack, then your doctor is probably very patient-centered. If not, then you may need to look for another one. Not necessarily one that offers bottles of water in the waiting room, but one who is clearly patient-oriented.
Do you have a hard time reaching the receptionist to schedule an appointment? Do you feel that he or she is rude or condescending to you over the phone? If your first point of contact with the doctor is unpleasant, then odds are, your doctor isn’t too concerned about how comfortable you feel during your visit.
Having a professional office staff should be a priority for any self-respecting physician. The receptionist needs to either take your call or immediately return it and be prepared to either schedule you in or get you on the phone with the doctor. If that isn’t the case with your doctor’s office, you may need to find a new doctor whose philosophy is geared towards the patient’s comfort and satisfaction.
18. Your Doctor Doesn’t Take Your Ideas Into Consideration
Maybe you are hesitant about beginning a new medication and would prefer to try a lifestyle change instead, like getting more exercise. Perhaps you are concerned about the potential side effects, but he or she doesn’t seem too worried about your concerns. Doctors who have nothing to hide will be prepared to address your concerns and take your ideas into consideration.
Maybe you think that your symptoms could be pointing to something other than what your physician is suggesting, but he or she doesn’t take your thoughts seriously. But you are the patient, and you are the one experiencing the symptoms. If your doctor doesn’t put your ideas into consideration, it may be time to find a new one.
No one should expect a doctor to be available 24/7. However, you should be able to reach your doctor or someone else who is on-call, at reasonable hours or within a reasonable time frame. Some doctors have an on-call service but don’t respond; they may just suggest that you head to the emergency room if you feel that you need urgent attention.
If you do go to the emergency room, your doctor needs to know ASAP so that he or she can coordinate with the ER doctors. If you spend days trying to reach your physician because you have an urgent concern that you need to discuss, then you may need to find another doctor.
Your physician would be much amiss to rely on Doctor Google for your diagnosis. After all, he or she did work hard to go through medical school and get licensed to practice medicine. That said, if you have found something on WebMD or another site that you think does bear some attention, your doctor should at least humor you and look at the information.
While you shouldn’t spend hours Googling your symptoms (you will usually come up with a worst-case scenario), if your doctor disregards everything you find online, you may need to find a new doctor. What you discover online may or may not be valuable, but at the very least, if your doctor is not listening to what you are saying, then that is a huge red flag.
21. Your Doctor Can’t Answer Questions Your About Insurance
Healthcare is expensive, and your doctor needs to understand how insurance is processed at his or her practice. Your insurance company may not always give you straight answers, but your doctor needs to be able to advocate for you to the company and get you as much coverage as possible.
If your doctor can’t answer your questions about insurance, that’s not just a sign that he or she isn’t knowledgeable about that industry. He or she probably isn’t keeping up-to-date in other areas, as well. If your doctor can’t answer your questions about insurance, you may need to find a new doctor.
22. Your Doctor Dismisses Any Form of Alternative Treatment
Maybe your physician rushes to write you a prescription for antibiotics when you want to try taking probiotics instead. Perhaps you are tired of medicinal side effects and want to look into ways to decrease your regular medication through diet, exercise, and other lifestyle changes. Does your doctor listen to your concerns?
Or do you feel foolish after talking about a supplement that you want to try out or an alternative treatment, like massage therapy, nutritional therapy, or acupuncture, that you want to experiment with? Alternative therapies can be valuable, but if your doctor dismisses them, you may need to find a new doctor.
Plenty of people feel like a trip to the doctor’s office is not all that different from a trip to a drive-through. They get to the doctor’s office, and after waiting interminably for the doctor actually to show up, he or she spends the whole time looking at medical notes without even looking up at you.
How is your doctor supposed to understand what is going on if he or she doesn’t even make eye contact and talk with you? Your doctor’s visit should not feel like a visit to the McDonald’s drive-through. If your physician doesn’t make eye contact during a checkup, then you may need to find a new one.
Doctors only spend a few minutes with patients. Nurses are the ones who really know what is going on because they spend significantly more time with patients. If your doctor doesn’t make time to talk with the nurses to better understand what is going on with his or her patients, then he or she probably doesn’t know what is going on.
Worse, if your doctor thinks that he or she is too important to waste time dealing with nurses, then he or she is probably too self-important to really care about what is going on with you. If your physician doesn’t talk with nurses, then it is perhaps time to find a new doctor.
25. Your Doctor Doesn’t Use Electronic Medical Records
Electronic Medical Records, or EMRs, are an incredibly valuable tool in making sure that all of your medical information is easily accessible and can be shared with all of your healthcare professionals. Most doctors have adopted them, but there is one category of doctors that primarily have not: those that overly prescribe opioids and other prescriptions, feeding the current addiction crisis.
The use of EMRs can help immensely in addressing the opioid addiction. Doctors can immediately look to see how many opioid prescriptions someone has had and determine if that individual is addicted. If your doctor does not use EMRs, there is a possibility that he or she is part of the problem. You may need to find a new doctor.
We all know that doctors can get kickbacks for how many prescriptions they write for a particular medication. But you are not a kickback, and your doctor should not look at you as such. You are a patient and need help with a health issue. That help may come in the form of medication, but it may also come in the form of a referral to a specialist or recommendation of lifestyle changes.
In a perfect world, doctors would not be able to get any kickbacks from pharmaceutical companies. But since we don’t live in an ideal world, we have to be aware of what can potentially be going on if the doctor prescribes medication too quickly. If your doctor only writes prescriptions for medicines without any other suggestions, then you may need to find a new doctor.
27. Your Doctor Doesn’t Check Your Records Before Prescribing Medication
One of the most common medical malpractice mistakes is wrongly prescribing medication. Some medications react with each other and can cause serious issues. Additionally, receiving the wrong dosage – based on topics like weight, family history, and medical history – can produce toxic results.
The easiest way to prevent these problems, which are usually entirely preventable, is for your doctor to check your medical records before writing a prescription. He or she needs to see precisely what medications you have been on or are currently on, what your family history is, and what conditions you may have that could be exacerbated by a particular drug. If your physician doesn’t do so, then you need to find a new doctor.
28. There Are A Lot Of Ads For Medications In Your Doctor’s Office
Salespeople from prescription companies routinely visit doctors’ offices, trying to show all the new medications and offer perks for doctors that prescribe them. Doctors can even sometimes get royalties for advertising for different medicines. But since when should your doctor’s office become a walk-in advertisement?
Medication can help you out in some situations, but it won’t create a lifestyle of wellness. If there are a lot of ads for drugs in your doctor’s office, that could be a red flag that he or she is getting a lot of kickbacks from prescription companies. You may need to find a new doctor.
Yes, there are plenty of problems with people who pretend to be sick so that they can get their doctors to write them new prescriptions for medications that they are addicted to. But if you suffer from a chronic illness, like fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue, and you are having a hard time getting your doctor to take you seriously, your overall health and well-being are at stake.
Plenty of doctors don’t think that fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue are even real things. While your physician shouldn’t over-diagnose people – like by saying that all particularly active kindergartners have ADHD – if your doctor thinks that you are faking it when what you really need is medical help, then you may need to find a new doctor.
If you have found a better doctor, one who you feel more comfortable with, who takes the time to answer your questions thoughtfully, and who looks at the bigger picture of your health rather than just isolated incidents that send you to his or her office, then that is the most significant sign that you should fire your current doctor.
Don’t stay with your current physician just because you have been there for a long time. Your health should be your number one priority, and if you have found a doctor who will advocate for it, then you should stick with it. That is, unless or until you start noticing some problems, in which case you will need to find another doctor.