Saturday, December 24, 2011

Evaluating New Doctors

US News and World Report recently published an article: 9 Signs You Should Fire Your Doctor. The article explains that an unhappy relationship with your doctor could damage your health care, and lists nine signs that you should look elsewhere for medical treatment:

1. You don't mesh. You and your doctor don't need to see eye to eye on everything, but it's helpful if you work well together.

2. He doesn't respect your time. You should never feel like he's "speed-doctoring" through an appointment.

3. He keeps you in the dark. A doctor should be open and thorough about both what tests he's ordering as well as the results.

4. He doesn't listen. It all comes down to communication and whether you feel like you're asking questions and they're not being answered.

5. The office staff is unprofessional. The receptionists are the link between you and the doctor.

6. You don't feel comfortable with him, or wonder about his competence. A sense of unease about his decisions and recommendations, even if you can't say exactly why, is also a perfectly legitimate reason for cutting the cord.

7. He doesn't coordinate with other doctors. Your primary care physician should be the quarterback of your health care team.

8. He's unreachable. A good doctor is available for follow-up questions and concerns.

9. He's rude or condescending. Your doctor should never trivialize your concerns as though they're not valid.

I've had some good doctors, and some really bad ones over the last two years. My dermatologist is an example of a fantastic doctor whom I meshed well with, who listened to me, and who carefully considered my symptoms in order to suggest an innovative approach to treatment. I found my dermatologist by first looking at the doctors listed in NJ Monthly's Top Doctor's edition and cross referencing the names with,, and - which are patient rating sites.

Unfortunately, my insurance didn't cover any of the endocrinologist recommendations by fellow 'noid patients, nor any of the endocrinologists listed in Top Doctors, nor any of the recommendations on the patient sites. Ultimately, I was forced to just go with someone on my insurance provider list. I already don't really like her receptionist... let's see how she does on the other "9 signs".

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