Whether you visit your doctor once a month or just a few times a year, the relationship you have with your general practitioner can affect your health. Just like in any other relationship, if things aren’t working, it might be time to part ways.
Here are six telltale signs that it’s time to change doctors:
Your doctor doesn’t listen
Much of health care comes down to communication. There’s a big difference between listening and hearing, and if your doctor isn’t choosing to consciously listen to you, it might be time for him or her to go. You should leave an appointment feeling like your doctor listened and understood your concerns – bonus points if they can repeat what you told them back to you.
Your doctor is hard to reach
All good doctors should have a communication plan in place to answer patients’ questions off hours. Some offices have call services, but more and more, doctors are giving out their cell numbers or email addresses so patients can directly communicate with them in emergency situations. If you don’t have a relatively easy way to contact your doctor or his/her assistant, that could be a problem.
Your doctor talks down to you
Similar to not listening (which is rude all in itself), doctors who treat you like you know nothing about your own body might need to get the boot. As previously stated, communication is key in a doctor-patient relationship. If your doctor doesn’t think it’s important to take your concerns seriously, the relationship has a problem.
You feel rushed
You’ve probably experienced the feeling of being rushed at a restaurant. Staff wants to turn over as many tables as possible, because the more customers, the larger the bottom line. Unfortunately, many doctor’s offices treat patients in the same vein – the more patients they get through the door, the more they can bill insurance companies. If you feel rushed by your doctor, it’s very likely that you weren’t able to explain all of your symptoms or concerns. This could mean the difference between a proper diagnosis or being incorrectly medicated for a medical issue that you don’t have. If you feel rushed, remember this: your doctor works for you, not the other way around.
It’s hard to make an appointment
Having access to your doctor is crucial when you don’t feel well or have a pressing medical concern. If you’re consistently having to wait weeks for an appointment, it could become obvious that you’re not a priority for your doctor. Again, remember, your doctor works for you.
You just don’t mesh
You should like your doctor. Though you may not see him or her as much as you see a friend, your doctor likely knows intimate details about your life that many you’re close with don’t. If you don’t like your doctor, you probably don’t fully trust your doctor. Even if your doctor isn’t rude, hard to reach or makes you feel rushed, if you don’t like your physician, it might be time to look elsewhere. Sometimes, people just clash.