- The healthcare provider does not want to order tests that can aid in better diagnostic decision making (such as magnetic resonance imaging) because they “don’t want to fill out all of the forms.” This is different from not wanting to order tests that would not be helpful.
- You are rarely being seen by the doctor but are almost constantly being seen by a physicians assistant or nurse. Not that there is anything wrong with physicians assistants or nurses because they do play a very important role in health care, but if you are seeking the care of a specific healthcare provider and are rarely ever getting to see that individual (and you are not getting the care you believe you need as a result) this is a good sign that it may be time to make a switch.
- The provider becomes defensive and angry when asked polite but challenging questions. No health care provider is always correct with diagnostic decision making or managing treatment. Patients should feel like they can have an open and honest discussion with the provider which includes asking questions about possible alternative diagnoses, treatments, or inquiring about information gathered from popular news sources. Provided that the questions are asked politely and without the intention of being antagonistic, there is no need for the provider to become upset. There is no need for a patient to feel scared to ask questions of their physician, nurse, psychologist, etc.
- Feeling rushed. Healthcare is best when the provider is able to take the time to listen and understand the patient’s problems. When the provider gives off signals (e.g., frequently checking the clock or a watch, sighing when questions are asked, walking towards the door, cutting off questions) that he/she cannot spend much time with you, it may be time to consider seeking the care of someone who can.
- When the provider makes decisions that turn out to be harmful.
- The provider has decided upon your course of care before evaluating you. This one sounds hard to believe but it happens sometimes.
- The provider is not really listening to you. If you go to see a health care provider and he/she is too busy doing other things while you are trying to explain what is wrong with you, it is a bad sign that the provider is not paying sufficient attention to detail to provide optimal care.
If you have decided to change your GP/doctor, that is great news! You are on the road to recovery. You may have to change 10 times before you find someone that is on the same 'page' as you, which is fine. Do what you have to do, for YOU.
After you have located a GP/doctor that you are happy with, start asking questions. There are some that HATE it when patients come in 'clued up' and then you have others that welcome the informed patient. I would personally go with the latter! It does make all the difference in the world to feel like you actually have a say in your care! Good Luck & Good Health!