Is being picky about your doctor okay?
Don’t you deserve to get the best treatment possible, after all this is YOUR life!
With so many health professionals to choose from, it’s worth thinking about which is best for you. Knowing which questions to ask, and how to search for the right professional, can help you make the right decision.
It’s essential that you feel comfortable communicating with your doctor. Do you work well with a doctor who’s time-efficient or do you prefer one who carefully answers all of your questions if you’re feeling anxious? Would you prefer a male or female specialist? Not all doctors are the right fit for every patient and compatibility is important to fostering a positive doctor–patient relationship.
Putting a little time into your search and being direct about your needs can improve your health care. When you are aware of what you want and know you are getting it, it helps you take charge of your own health care.
You deserve to have access to the best healthcare, even if it means having to search high and low for the right doctor for your specific needs.
But isn’t this ‘doctor shopping’?
Is this ‘doctor shopping’? Not at all. If a doctor is being unhelpful, or you feel like you are not being heard; you wouldn’t want to continue to see them, especially if you need a specific treatment.
Getting a new doctor might mean a better treatment plan or maybe the START of a treatment plan. Despite everything you are going through with chronic illness you still deserve to have a quality of life. So being picky about a doctor is not ‘bad’ or ‘attention seeking’ especially when your quality of life is on the line.
Isn’t this ‘doctor shopping’? Not at all. You are searching for the right doctor, not the right diagnosis. If a doctor is being unhelpful, or you feel like you are not being heard; you wouldn’t want to continue to see them, especially if you need a specific treatment.
How Do I Decide?
Walk into your doctor’s appointment like it’s an interview – be prepared with questions, medical history, and take notes. If you don’t understand what the doctor is telling you, ask questions until you do. Your doctor should be explaining everything to you every step of the way. If you don’t feel comfortable after seeing a certain doctor, you should feel comfortable getting a second or third opinion; a confident and competent doctor should always welcome other opinions.
But where should you start? Use this checklist to get you started:
- What kind of care do you and your family need?
Are you healthy and primarily interested in preventive care to help preserve your health and care when you get common illnesses like the flu? Are you living with one or more chronic health conditions like diabetes, endometriosis, heart disease, or respiratory disease? In that case you’ll want a GP with experience managing these conditions who can refer you to experienced specialists if needed.
- Beyond medical experience, what are you looking for?
Of course you want a doctor who’s skilled, but there are other factors to consider. For example would you prefer a male or female physician, how close he or she is to retirement, hows their bedside manner, and, if English is not your first language, does the doctor and other staff speak your language. Good communication is extremely important. Your doctor should listen to you without interrupting and explain any diagnosis or treatment in plain English and confirm that you fully understand.
- How accessible is the doctor?
Find out how far in advance you need to schedule an appointment and whether same-day appointments are readily available. What is the doctor’s policy is for answering questions, do they respond to phone, email, or online. How long are the average appointments, will you have time to ask all your questions and discuss all your issues? Does the doctor have evening or weekend appointments? Will you always be seen by the doctor or if some of your care will be provided by other staff members like nurses or assistants. If it’s a group practice, find out who will provide your care when your primary care GP is not available. If it’s not a group practice, ask who covers for the doctor when he or she is not there.
- Cost considerations.
Beyond checking to see if the doctor is part of your health insurance network, it’s also wise to ask if there are fees for other services such as completing health forms, getting a copy of your medical records, and missed appointments.
What else can I do to take control of my health?
Your Doctor’s office has your personal health records, but its good to create one for yourself too. Wanngi allows you to upload all your medical records and past/current health information in one paperless location. You can then share it (Health Report Export) from your phone to a medical professional or to another location. And communicate more effectively with doctors and see important trends in your health while you’re sick, such as your very own symptom timeline.
Greater than 50% of the population have chronic illness. Many of which are treatable and manageable. However, without access to their own health data, people feel they are not able to self-monitor and improve their health situation.
Getting your own health data can sometimes be a little tricky but it’s your health and you should always have full access to it. With Wanngi, we understand that once you start collecting your health history and symptoms and have access whenever you need to help you become the healthiest you.
So in closing if you needed a little encouragement and validation while finding the right doctor, remind yourself that your health matters and you deserve the best treatment and doctor possible even if that means searching for the right one.