Always select a doctor with care. Finding the right doctor takes effort, but it’s worth doing, because your health matters. That said, no matter how much research and planning you do, you still might end up with the wrong doctor.

How do you know when it’s time to change doctors? Here are six things to consider:

1. You chose the wrong discipline. If the doctor's expertise doesn't match your needs, it makes sense to find a different provider.

2. The doctor is too busy to see you.  If you go to an appointment expecting to see the MD, and someone else from the practice sees you instead, you may want to consider other options.

3. The doctor doesn’t communicate with you. Your doctor should be willing to answer your questions, explain potential treatment options, and provide clarification if anything is confusing. If you leave the office confused and without a clear plan, another doctor may be a better fit.

4. The doctor dismisses your input. You know what's "normal" for your body, and you deserve a doctor who will listen and take you seriously when you express concerns.

5. The doctor discourages a second opinion. Whether you've received a new diagnosis or are exploring treatment options, it makes sense to get a second opinion. A trustworthy doctor will support this.

6. The doctor is not working within established medical guidelines. If your doctor suggests a non-standard form of treatment without a clear explanation for their reasoning, it may be a sign of a problem. Take a thoughtful and thorough approach with your treatment decisions.

Not Every Inconvenience Is a Reason to Leave

If a doctor’s visit is frustrating or doesn’t go as smoothly as you hoped, don’t rush into changing providers. There are some frustrations we encourage you to try to negotiate and resolve. For example, sometimes a talented doctor keeps you waiting or has a poor bedside manner. Maybe the doctor’s front office staff seems rude or is hard to reach. Medical offices tend to be very busy, so try to be patient with them.

Remember that you chose this doctor for a reason. It takes time to develop a relationship with a new doctor, so be sure you give your current doctor a chance before you choose a new provider.

If you’re not confident that you have the right doctor, a health advisor can help you consider your options, and if necessary, assist with a smooth transition to a new provider.