Marti Ann Schwartz, in her book titled LISTEN TO ME, DOCTOR, has a chapter on “Finding a New and Better Doctor.” Her lead sentence is, “If you don’t have a good relationship with your doctor, change doctors.” The doctor/patient relationship is so personal that it should be pleasant, caring and trustworthy. She gives 12 reasons to change your physician: poor quality of care, poor relationship, lack of interest in you, rude behavior, bad attitude, doesn’t take time for you, unwilling to discuss your diagnosis fully, ignores your concerns, lose trust, objects to second opinions, retires or leaves practice.
It usually is best to make a change when your medical status is stable. So while waiting for your next routine examination, begin the process. If you wait until something serious like a heart attack or stroke happens, you will have to take whoever is on call at the emergency room.
One way to select a doctor is to call your local county medical society and ask if you can obtain a directory of the physicians in your area. Some medical societies let you go to their office and will help you personally to choose by providing some background. Most of them have directories with photos that are available for a small fee. You can tell a good deal from a picture. So take a good look at the face. After all, you will be looking him or her in the eye a lot. Take down the names of the ones who interest you.
Another good resource is to ask your friends and coworkers for their recommendations. Then select one for your next checkup. It’s never too early to established a good patient/doctor relationship.
When you make your appointment, be sure to check all the office policies to see if they are acceptable to you. Be sure to follow all the office rules and regulations and don’t impose yourself outside of office hours unless it’s an emergency. When questions about your health arise, write them down. When you have several that can’t wait, then it’s time to make an appointment to discuss them with your doctor. Don’t discuss medical problems over the phone. The only person who could get hurt in such a “curb stone” medical opinion is you, the patient. It is always best that whenever you discuss your medical problems, that you face your doctor with your medical record in his hands. Otherwise it’s too risky. Don’t take risks with your own life.
These messages were written in the years as noted and may be somewhat dated at this time. Please consult your physician or other health care provider.