There are any number of reasons we may need to change doctors. Previously we took at look at those reasons, and an approach for leaving a doctor and his or her practice.
The next step is even more important - establishing a great relationship with the new doctor you've chosen. Assuming you’ve done your homework and identified the best doctor for your needs, it's time to plan for your first appointment.
An emergency, or new, strange symptoms, are not the ideal time to get to know a doctor you hope to establish a relationship with. Therefore, if possible, arrange your first meeting with your new doctor before you really need medical care. It will be to your advantage to take some time to review your family history and your current health status, including the information you’ve gotten from your former doctor, when your health is on an even keel. It gives your doctor a sense of who you are when you are less challenged by your health. It's not unlike going on a first date; you want to put your best foot forward, as does your new doctor.
Before you go, write down questions you have. List all the drugs and supplements you currently take including amounts and frequency. You might even consider just throwing the containers into a bag and taking them with you. That way you'll have all the information you need about names of drugs, dosage and how much of your prescription you still have left. Record past medical problems and dates that may not already be included in your current records. Add to them any appropriate family history. Then take all this information, along with your current records, to your appointment.
Your doctor may or may not want to review your current records. If you have a well-documented, chronic problem that has so far been successfully treated, then she may find your records are useful. But if you have had trouble with your treatment, or you are unsure your diagnosis is accurate, then it might be better for her to begin with a clean slate. That may require rerunning tests or using other diagnostic tools to hone in on what your medical problem really is, once you have symptoms that need further exploration. This should come as welcome news, particularly if one of the reasons you left your previous doctor was because you couldn't get the help you think you need.
Finally, don’t spend much time explaining why you left your previous doctor. Your interest is in moving forward, not dwelling on the past. Complaining to your new doctor will make him or her uncomfortable at best, defensive at worst, and that's no way to begin a new relationship.
This approach will help you develop a true partnership with your new doctor. Continued collaboration and adherence to the decisions you make together will help cement the relationship. When done right, as long as circumstances allow, you may not have to change doctors again.
Edited by Alison Stanton