You’re the patient, which means you should feel comfortable when you visit your doctor. Your relationship with them should've been built on mutual trust and understanding. But if you feel like you’re being disrespected or ignored, then you might just need to move on and find someone who actually cares.
You Can Never Get An Appointment
You called to get an appointment, but your doctor isn’t willing or able to accommodate you with their busy schedule. “Physician accessibility or lack thereof is one reason many people are using concierge-type doctors which requires paying a premium in exchange for availability,” claims Dr. Jake Deutsch, medical director and founder of CURE Urgent Care.
You Can't Reach Them
“Access to your doctor is directly related to the overall quality of your health care,” says Dr. Deutsch. So when you're ready to look for a new doctor, make sure to find out if they provide evening and weekend hours too. Ask them about all the ways you'd be able to reach the office. Don't be afraid to ask as many questions as needed.
Your Doctor is Bad at Care Coordination
Your primary care physician is sending you to get a bunch of unnecessary tests to figure out what’s wrong with you, which leads to more bills that you have to pay. After all these tests, they still aren't able to figure out what's wrong with you. But here's the thing, your primary care doctor is your overall health coordinator, not a specialist.
Your Doctor Never Directs You to a Specialist
“The primary care doctor is the gatekeeper to your health and is responsible for coordinating your care if you need to see specialists,” says Dr. Deutsch. A well-coordinated primary care physician can save you time, money, and even your life.
Your Doctor Makes Too Many Mistakes
Your doctor might have diagnosed you with something that turned out to be wrong. And it’s not the first time this has happened, but you let it slide because you like the way they treat you.
You're Blinded by Your Loyalty
According to Dr. Deutsch, “While loyalty is often rewarded, you don’t want to wait around and find out if you had the experience of a medical mistake.” He added that over 440,000 accidental deaths a year could have been prevented.
Your Doctor Dismisses Your Concerns
You tell your doctor about symptoms, but instead of listening to you, he or she is giving you the brush off and not taking your concerns seriously. Sadly, this happens way too often. But this is a major red flag that you need to seriously consider changing doctors.
You Should Never Let Them Downplay Your Symptoms
Oncologist Ethan Basch from the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center says, “Clinicians’ failure to note these symptoms results in the occurrence of preventable adverse events.” So never allow a doctor to downplay your symptoms as this could lead to misdiagnosis.
Your Doctor Wants to Rush You out the Door
You want to talk about your family’s medical history, but your physician is acting like they are completely disconnected. And they are rushing you out the door because they have a waiting room full of patients.
You Need a Doctor Who Listens
Doctor Neel Anand, director of spine trauma at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, says, “If you’ve waited a long time to see this person and they provide you five minutes of time, most of which is spent staring at the chart…it’s best to go with the doctor who puts down the chart and actively listens to what’s going on with you.”
You Don't Really Like Your Doctor
It’s difficult to put your health and your life in the hands of a physician you don't really like. You're not supposed to force yourself to like a doctor. So if you're having a serious personality conflict with your physician, it might be time to analyze why you're still seeing him or her.
You Should Find Someone You Vibe Well With
If you can't stand your doctor, you shouldn't force yourself to keep them as your primary care doctor just because they're really qualified. Dr. Peter LePort, a bariatric surgeon at Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California, suggests not focusing on, "the [doctor’s] qualifications or outcomes. Those are very important factors, but what I’m talking about has to do with how you feel about the [doctor] you are considering.”
Your Doctor Isn’t Getting Back to You
You’ve repeatedly reached out to your doctor through e-mails and a bunch of phone calls, but it’s been 48 hours and they haven't made any effort to call you or even write back.
You Need Someone Who Actually Cares
“The good doctor always takes enough time to explain diagnoses and treatments to patients in ways that they can understand,” says Dr. Whyte., Chief Medical Officer at WebMD. So it's not unreasonable to expect them to get back to you within a reasonable amount of time.
Your Doctor Doesn't Pay Attention
You realize your doctor is failing to make eye contact with you. All you get are a couple of nods here and there, and you can't help but feel like you're not really a priority to them.
You Need a Doctor Who Will Take Their Time
“Even if your appointment is 7 to 12 minutes, he shouldn’t make you feel rushed,” says, Eric Topol, M.D., director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute, and Men’s Health advisor. Always remember that this is not a free service. You’re paying them. So make sure you get your money’s worth.
You’re Not Getting Better
People go to their doctors because they want to feel better. But if in spite of all of their recommended treatments, you’re still feeling miserable, then you may just have a very bad or lazy doctor.
You Should Get a Second Opinion
“Bad outcomes or not getting better doesn’t automatically mean you have a bad doctor but you do want to start thinking about it,” says Dr. Whyte. A good doctor should be able to diagnose and provide treatments that are effective most of the time. And if they're not hitting the nail on the head, then they should simply send you to a specialized physician.
Your Doctor Makes You Wait Too Long
You set up an appointment for a specific time, but then you’re waiting there for what feels like hours. And this is a major red flag, too. "It goes way beyond being late," says Paula Pearlman, MD, associate clinical professor at UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine.
Your Doctor Should Always Give You a Time Frame
Dr. Pearlman adds, "There are plenty of studies that show people don't mind waiting if they are given a time frame and kept up to date, if they're given a choice to wait an hour for the doctor or schedule another appointment." In the end, it's all about feeling like you matter and your doctor respects you.
Your Doctor Bombards You With Medical Jargon
Dr. Pearlman, who has also worked as an ER doctor at Kaiser Permanente Hospital for 30 years, says, "When a practitioner starts resorting to medical jargon, that makes it more difficult for the patient." Leaving their office feeling confused about your condition, treatment, and your options is simply...well, not an option.
You Should Go Back for a Second Visit
If you're not ready to give up on your physician just yet, give them another shot. "The doctor should be willing to slow down and simplify; but doctors don't have a lot of time anymore, so patients should be willing to schedule a second visit if they still have unanswered questions,” suggests Dr. Pearlman.
Your Doctor Never Confers With Other Doctors
You asked your doctor if they wouldn’t mind checking with their colleagues about a diagnosis or course of treatment they’ve suggested for you, but he or she gets very offended.
They Should Always Double-Check
"I see a lot of patients with multiple conditions, and it's the responsibility of both the primary care doc and the specialist to communicate. If you have the sense that they aren't, then you need to ask,” says family physician Kenny Lin, MD, associate professor of family medicine at Georgetown University School of Medicine. Doctors should never get offended just because you're thoroughly looking after your health.
Your Doctor Offers an Aggressive Solution
You go in with a stomachache, and your doctor is eager to push for a radical type of invasive treatment. They also seem impatient, like they would rather put you in the operating table right away instead of digging deeper and finding what's wrong with you.
You Should Always Go With Your Gut
If you feel that it’s not an emergency and that surgery is unwarranted, then Doctor Neel Anand, director spine trauma at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, recommends the following, "What you really want is someone who will assess your condition over some period of time."