If you’re in need of a new physician, do some research first, like reviewing a prospective physician’s credentials and looking for board certification. However, your investigation isn’t over at that point: when you arrive for your appointment, continue looking for clues about whether you’re at the right place or should make a quick escape.
Considerable’s recent article entitled “If your doctor shows one of these red flags, it’s time to move on” lists seven red flags to help you.
The receptionist doesn’t know you’re alive. The reception desk handles your questions about appointments, medical records, prescriptions and many other issues. The demeanor of those behind that desk should be professional, helpful and attentive. If you’re not greeted by the receptionist soon after you step through the door, and they fail to inform you that your doctor will be running late, or how long that wait will be, it’s discourteous. Of course, we all have bad days. However, if you see a pattern over time, or find yourself hating to contact that office, it may impact your care. Speak to your doctor about it.
A pharmaceutical company rep got there before you. If you look around the waiting room and see pharmaceutical logos on all kinds of pens and post-its, it’s a good sign that drug company reps have been there. They may have treated the staff to lunch, left new medication samples with the doctor and touted their latest brand drug or device. If you see that your doctor is accepting freebies from pharma companies, and you receive a prescription for a related brand-name drug, mention it to the doctor. If your doctor dismisses you, it may be time to get another opinion.
Your privacy isn’t properly protected. Most offices are exceptionally good about complying with HIPAA, which limits who has access to your health records. However, breaches can happen and impact nearly 5.6 million patient records last year. The standard HIPAA release form that patients sign states how your personal medical information can be used. If you don’t see your doctor’s office following the rules, talk to the office manager or the doctor. They know how critical protecting your privacy is and should be receptive to resolving any issues, if they’ve been lax.
The doctor is trying to sell you something. There’s been an increase in the number of doctors looking to enhance their incomes and selling products, such as vitamins, botanicals, minerals and other dietary supplements for weight loss, enhanced cognition, or improved libido. This behavior makes a doctor a salesperson who can take advantage of a patient’s vulnerabilities. If your doc tries to sell you something, it may be time to get a second opinion—or leave.
The doc’s diplomas seem a little suspect. A doctor’s office gives you a look at the chronology of the his or her education and may tell you whether he or she is board-certified, on the medical staff of a university, has also achieved a sub-specialty, as well as awards or honors. You can also look at your state’s licensing board website and check on the doctor for his or her education and practice information, history of malpractice, or professional misconduct and criminal convictions.
The doctor’s office is almost as bad as your kid’s room used to be. You may be so concerned about your health issues that you don’t see the signs of neglect which can critically impact your treatment. A dirty lab coat or dusty shelves may mean less than optimal attention to cleanliness. Disorganized desks and chart racks are ripe for misplaced notes and records.
They ignore feedback. Your physician should be all right with working with you, when you want to explore new treatments. If not, the doctor might be closed-minded and out of touch with the most recent research.
It’s difficult to find the right doctor but doing the research to find the perfect fit for you will pay off in the long run. It’s a vitally important relationship in your life, so don’t settle if you see these signs.
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Reference: Considerable (Nov. 11, 2019) “If your doctor shows one of these red flags, it’s time to move on”
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