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Should You Find a New Doctor?

Should You Find a New Doctor?

By Stacey Feintuch

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You dump a boyfriend you aren't in love with. You dump a hairdresser when she isn't styling your hair to your liking. A similar philosophy should apply to dumping a doctor.

You shouldn't be wondering, "Is this the right doctor for me?" Seeing a health care provider you're questioning can be hazardous to your health. Yes, your provider may wear a white coat and a stethoscope, be beloved by your mom and hold a fancy medical degree—but he or she may not be the right health care provider for you.

You owe it to yourself to find your dream doctor—or other health care provider. That's especially true when it's a practitioner you and your family see often, such as an obstetrician/gynecologist, a pediatrician or a primary care provider.

Here are some signs it's time to move on and find a new practitioner.

The office is dirty or messy.
Do the files appear in disarray? Do you see dirt on the floors? Are garbage cans overflowing? You can't see germs, but an office that looks unkempt and gives you a bad vibe could signal that it isn't being sanitized properly.

Your health care provider resists second opinions.
It's your right as a patient to get a second opinion. A good health care provider should be open and confident about having you double-check your diagnosis and treatment plan. You are entitled to get a second opinion, and your health care provider shouldn't push you to only rely on his or her advice.

The office no longer accepts your insurance.
If you love and adore your health care provider, look into your out-of-network benefits. See how much you have to pay out of pocket and decide if you're able and willing to do that. If you've been having second thoughts about your provider to begin with, now may be time to look for a health care provider who accepts your insurance.

You frequently have a lengthy wait before visits.
Doctors can't always control how long you must wait for an appointment or how much time you spend in the waiting room. But, if you repeatedly wait months for an appointment or hours in the waiting room, it can damage your relationship. If you're kept abreast of how long you'll have to wait or offered to be put on a cancellation list, that communication may put you at ease. But if you feel like your health care provider and the office staff aren't respecting your time, head elsewhere.

Your health care provider overprescribes antibiotics.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in three antibiotic prescriptions in the United States is unnecessary. These lifesaving drugs can lose their effectiveness if they're used inappropriately. It's not doing you any favors if you get a prescription for antibiotics every time you have a runny nose.

Your health care provider isn't listening to you.
You don't get much time during an appointment. But your provider should be listening to you during what time you do have together. That means maintaining good eye contact, nodding and facing you, even when he or she is entering information into files or scanning your chart. Your health care provider may not remember that you have two boys ages 4 and 8. But, it's a red flag if you get treated like a new patient at every appointment. Learn more about How to Communicate With Your Health Care Provider.

Your health care provider orders too many tests.
When it comes to medical testing, more doesn't always result in better outcomes. Your health care provider should do what's in your best interest medically. Some reasons that may not be in your best interest include: your health care provider gets a financial incentive from ordering tests; he or she hasn't spent time researching what may be going on with you; or your provider wants to avoid a bad online review. Those may be reasons to look for a new health care provider.