When Should You Break Up With Your Doctor?


Finding a new primary care doctor can be a difficult process. Moving or a change in your insurance plan often dictates making a switch. But even after moving more than 30 miles away, I still drive to my old doctor’s office because we have a great doctor-patient relationship, I trust him, and he’s been treating me for over 16 years. If starting with a new doctor, or finding out yours is not a provider for your health plan, it’s very important that you find a good fit. This is especially critical with older adults as health concerns become more numerous and complex.

One challenging scenario necessitating a change in your primary care doctor is finding you’re no longer receiving the quality of care you need. An article in AARP magazine addresses when it might be time to break up with your doctor. Citing various signs you may need to switch, the article also underscores the shifts in healthcare that may be resulting in inadequacies in your care.

Patients are better informed about health, do their research, and now expect a higher quality of care. At the same time, physicians are tasked with providing quality care, often with less time allotted to each patient and limited resources. But you should never feel your doctor is not tuned into your needs.

What are the signs you mind need to find a new doctor? James Pacala, M.D., a geriatrician at the University of Minnesota lists the red flags.

  1. Your doctor attributes everything to your age – Very real concerns may be dismissed in this case.
  2. There’s nothing that can be done – The doctor should explore alternatives with you.
  3. You don’t have enough time with the doctor – Cutting you off or interrupting if you have more questions.
  4. You’re just handed a prescription – You should receive information about what and why it’s prescribed.
  5. The doctor suggests things that won’t work for you – Your individual situation and lifestyle should be factored in.
  6. Continuing to prescribe many medications or specialist referrals – If you’re not improving, it’s not working.

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