Losing faith in your physician? Unfortunately, declining trust in the medical field has become a worldwide problem – and it can jeopardize your health. If you dislike or find you don’t trust your doctor, you may feel more inclined to ignore his recommendations, postpone important medical tests or avoid discussing serious symptoms.
Despite these downfalls, many patients find it hard to leave a practice that no longer fits their needs. Not sure if you should stay or go? Make sure none of the examples below describe your patient-provider relationship.
Your Doctor Doesn’t Listen
Some doctors spend more than 10 years training for their careers, but that doesn’t mean they know everything about your health. Every patient is different, so it’s really important that you find a doctor who takes time to listen to your symptoms. That can be tricky when the average appointment lasts just 17.4 minutes, especially if your doctor spends most of his time interrupting you or talking over you.
It’s also frustrating when a physician dismisses concerns or chalks symptoms up to anxiety or weight when you know something else is wrong. Follow your gut instincts and seek a second opinion if you don’t trust your doctor’s diagnosis. Nearly 9 out of 10 patients who seek a second opinion receive a new diagnosis. Never be afraid to move on and look for a doctor who takes your symptoms seriously.
Your Doctor is Too Busy
Is it difficult to get an appointment with your doctor? How long do you usually wait to see her when you arrive? Can you speak to her outside of normal business hours if an emergency arises? These are all important questions to consider if you’re thinking about whether or not it’s time to make a switch.
Nearly 1 in 3 patients admit to leaving an appointment due to long wait times, and some patients struggle to schedule an appointment in the first place. In fact, new patients and patients who haven’t been seen in a few years often wait nearly a month for an appointment. This may cause infections or conditions to worsen or prescriptions to expire, especially if you can’t get into another doctor during the waiting period. Find a doctor who has time to see you, whether you need one appointment a year or four visits a month.
Your Doctor is Unethical
Doctors must follow the American Medical Association’s Code of Ethics, regardless of whether they’re new providers or they’ve been practicing for decades. These guidelines help ensure that doctors treat patients fairly and safely while honoring local laws.
Here are some signs your doctor isn’t making ethical choices:
- He makes sexual or suggestive comments or says he’d like to take you on a date.
- She writes prescriptions for medications she knows you do not need (and yes, that includes that antibiotic prescription you might beg for even though you have a viral cold).
- He bills you for procedures or treatments you don’t receive.
- She pushes medications and treatments where she has a vested interest, such as a kickback from the company or another provider.
- He ignores your symptoms to the point where you experience permanent or long-term issues as a result.
Your doctor has an ethical obligation to provide safe, timely and appropriate care. Not comfortable with your doctors choices? It’s time to move on.
You Don’t Like Your Doctor
Some patients feel like they shouldn’t switch doctors unless something majorly bad happens like some of the scenarios above. However, there’s nothing wrong with an “it’s not you, it’s me” goodbye. Maybe you’d prefer a doctor who shares your gender, or maybe you dislike seeing a specialist who’s fresh out of college. Maybe their bedside manner isn’t their greatest strength, or maybe they’re reaching retirement age and you want a doctor who will be with you for the long haul. The reasons aren’t important. It’s okay to switch to a new medical provider if doing so will make you more comfortable with your care.
More than 85% of adults see a doctor at least once a year, but even an annual visit may seem like too much if you dislike your provider. If you can relate, protect your health by switching to a doctor who makes you feel safe, respected and valued.
~Here’s to Your Healthy Pursuits!
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