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How can you tell when it's time for a new doctor?

When it comes to choosing a doctor, many people stay with a lackluster provider simply because he or she is familiar or because it seems like too much trouble to find a new one. But not all doctors are created equal, and if you have doubts about the quality of the medical care you are receiving, it may be in your best interests to look elsewhere.

If you’re wondering whether your doctor is competent to give you the care you need, that fact alone may be a sign that it’s time to part ways. In order to get the most out of the doctor-patient relationship, it is important that you trust your physician and feel confident in his or her expertise.

Another sign that your doctor may not be a good match for you is if you do not feel like he or she listens closely to your concerns and makes sure your questions are answered. If your physician expects you to follow his or her advice without hesitation, gets offended if you ask questions or will not take the time to address your concerns, it undermines the type of open, honest communication that is essential to good medical care.

Yet another question to ask yourself is whether you are satisfied with the amount of contact you actually have with your doctor. If your office visits are comprised mostly of time with receptionists, nurses and physician’s assistants -- and relatively little time with your own physician -- you may not be getting the type of close, individual attention that you need.

When a doctor is too busy to get to know patients on an individual level, they may be more likely to overlook important clues to patient health that can develop over time. Sometimes, these oversights can lead to medication errors or misdiagnosis of a serious medical condition, with potentially devastating consequences. In these cases, the doctors and other medical providers can sometimes be liable to the patient for the resulting damages.

Source: Forbes, "When to fire your doctor," accessed Aug. 8, 2014

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