Is It Time to Change Doctors?
In the past, doctors typically took the lead and patients followed. Today, a good patient-doctor relationship is more of a partnership. This means asking questions if the doctor’s explanations or instructions are unclear, being comfortable enough to bring up concerns and having an open dialogue about a particular treatment or change in daily life.
All of this is true at any age. But, as people age, it’s even more important to talk often and comfortably with a doctor. That’s partly because there may be more health conditions and treatments to discuss. It’s also because health has a big impact on other parts of one’s life, and that needs to be addressed, too.
Finding a main doctor (known as a primary care doctor) who can be trusted is an important first step. The ideal doctor gets to know patients and what their normal health is like. They help make medical decisions that suit individual patients’ values and daily habits. A primary care doctor is also the quarterback of a healthcare team, coordinating with other specialists and managing each step of the medical process.
Evaluating the relationship with a doctor is part of receiving good healthcare. People sometimes hesitate to change doctors because they worry about hurting their doctors’ feelings. But, one’s health is too important to settle for a doctor who isn’t giving the personal attention one deserves.
Get the most out of the doctor-patient partnership by finding a primary care doctor who:
Respects your time. Waiting an hour to see the doctor, only to have a rushed visit, doesn’t serve anyone’s best interests. Make sure the doctor takes the time to get to personally know you.
Keeps patients informed. A doctor should use terms that are easily understood, rather than complicated medical jargon. He or she should also be open and thorough about why a specific test or treatment path is recommended, and respect opinions or concerns.
Is a constant learner. Whether a doctor went to medical school three or 30 years ago, it’s important that his or her medical knowledge temains up to date. Ask about board-certifications, areas of specialization and conferences your doctor regularly attends.
Hires skilled staff. Even if a doctor is great, unhelpful office staff who neglect to relay messages or don’t follow-up will make it more difficult to get the care needed. Every interaction matters and the whole care team should have your back.
Creates a welcoming space. A doctor’s office should reflect the work that goes on inside of it: healing. It’s an experience one should look forward to, not dread. The effort put into creating an inviting space is a reflection of a practice’s respect for patient care and well-being.
Calyx Health is a doctor’s office exclusively for Medicare seniors located in the South Shore Shopping Center, above Trader Joe’s. Our primary care clinic specializes in geriatric care. For more information, call 323-4410 or click here to make an appointment.