Doctors are just like any other professionals. Some are good, some are mediocre, and some are (or should be) quickly washed out. Health care is a big business, and though it’s tough to become a doctor or specialist of any kind, that doesn’t mean they all operate at the peak of professionalism. For that reason, you’ll want to make sure you and your physician mesh. That you’re comfortable with them. If your not, you need to know when to end the relationship. But how do you know when the fit isn’t right? What signs should you be on the lookout for that tell you it’s time to pack it up and try another office?
There are many red flags, but if you want a quick rundown, here are four signs that you may want to ditch your doctor fast. And remember, don’t be afraid to “shop around” to the best of your abilities.
1. The practice is run unprofessionally
Are you constantly stuck waiting for long periods of time? Is the office staff rude and always changing? Is the place dirty, and the only things to read in the waiting room are copies of Highlights or Zoobooks from the mid-1990s? Those are signs an office isn’t being run very well, and that you may want to try another provider. In this case, the devil truly is in the details. If something feels off about the way the space is being run, it may be an indication things aren’t any better in the exam room.
2. Your doctor doesn’t seem to listen
Nothing is more frustrating than feeling like you’re being ignored. This can happen almost anywhere, does it feel like your doctor is brushing you off and going with his or her intuition? That can be maddening. If you’re trying to explain to your provider you’re not seeing any improvement in symptoms or something else and they don’t seem interested in digging a little deeper into your problem, it may be time to move on. Along the same lines, Prevention said you also might want to look elsewhere if your doc isn’t doing a good job of explaining things to you in clear, simple language. Good communication is the key to good care, so move on if it’s lacking.
3. The M.D. is unresponsive or unreachable
Physicians and doctors are hard to get through to, but if you need to speak to someone at their office — a staff member at the very least — having your calls and emails ignored should be a big red flag. It’s not just you that may need to get in touch with your doctor and their staff; Insurance providers, other physicians, and hospital staff need to be in contact as well. If communication is a problem, look for another office.
4. They’re more “business” than “doctor”
Health care is a business in the U.S., and though it’s not exactly a free market by any means, the industry is dominated by insurance, pharmaceutical, and other interests. This means your doctor is a part of that machine, and as such, has an incentive to sell goods and services. If you get the feeling that you’re being pushed toward unneeded or wanted procedures or medications, get a second opinion. Most doctors take their charge quite seriously, but for some, the siren call of bigger paychecks is too much to resist.