Thinking about changing primary care physicians? Here are 5 reasons to make a move, along with some simple advice on how to do it.

How to Change Your Doctor

Have you ever had a funny feeling that your doctor doesn’t have your best interests at heart? You may be right. In this post, we’ll highlight five of the top reasons to change your doctor. Then, we’ll give you a few pointers on how to swap doctors with ease.

But first of all, why are we telling you this?

Why You Shouldn’t Stay With a Doctor You Don’t Trust

Before we get into the reasons for switching your primary care doctor, let’s agree that switching won’t be a painless process.

  • In theory, your doctor knows your family’s health history.
  • Depending on where you live, there’ll be potential administrative headaches involved in switching, related to health insurance and slow office staff.
  • And then there’s the daunting prospect of starting from scratch with a new provider…

We’re all starved for time, so taking on yet another project might not be appealing. But ask yourself: isn’t your health and the health of your family important enough to make a change?

Let’s also not forget that people have traditionally put a lot of faith in doctors. So much faith that they have been pillars of the community for generations. And why not? Their role is incredibly important.

Here’s the reality: just as there are bad plumbers, there are bad doctors. The trouble may have been brewing for a while, but COVID has made sure it bubbled to the surface. The pandemic put people in panic mode, and that panic forced even our best doctors to stray from their Hippocratic oath to help, or at least do no harm.

In truth, everyone was blinded by the propaganda of the COVID pandemic. The fractured state of healthcare is understandable, but where does that leave the average patient who just wants a provider they can trust?

5 Reasons to Say Goodbye to Your Doctor

How do you know when it’s time to say goodbye to your healthcare provider? If you’ve had a bad feeling about it for a while, here are some reasons that might push you to finally make a move.

  1. You Have Lost Trust in Your Doctor
  2. Your Doctor is Not Aligned With You
  3. Your Doctor is Not Up-to-Date on Current Science
  4. Your Doctor Makes Errors in Treatment or Diagnosis
  5. Your Doctor Rushes Your Appointments

(By the way, if you are thinking of a new provider, check out our provider database! Just remember that being listed in the FLCCC directory is neither a recommendation of the provider nor a verification of the provider’s qualifications or practices, medical or otherwise. Do your own research!)

is it time to change your family doctor?

Reason 1: You Have Lost Trust in Your Doctor

With everything that happened during COVID, the doctor’s office hasn’t been the most comforting of places. While it’s true that trust is formed along a two-way street, there’s one key difference between doctor and patient. Doctors swear by the Hippocratic Oath, which says:

“I will benefit my patients according to my greatest ability and judgment, and I will do no harm or injustice to them.”

During the pandemic, far too many healthcare providers forgot about that pledge.

Was your doctor refusing to see the unvaccinated? Maybe they pressured you to take the COVID jab, despite your voiced concerns about vaccine harm. Actions like these are in direct conflict with the oath that your doctor swore to uphold. Your doctor may disagree with you, but it’s still their job to provide alternative treatments as needed.

Even still, doctors deserve empathy in this situation too. Many of them were following what they thought was rational guidance from well-intentioned public health authorities. Some were also rightfully afraid they would lose their medical licenses, social platforms, and careers for speaking out.

Reason 2: Your Doctor is Not Aligned With You

The COVID pandemic has forced patients to become their own medical research detectives. The average patient now has a lot more questions than usual.

Questions should be a good thing. But in recent years especially, they are not always well-received. We’ve seen alternative treatments for COVID become politicized (one of our founders even wrote a book about it).

We’ve seen terms like “anti-vax” used to demonize families with legitimate questions about vaccine safety for their children. The climate has been a tough one for all.

However, if a patient’s concerns consistently fall on deaf ears, it might be time to switch doctors. For doctors, losing patients should be a cause for reflection. Alignment does not always need to mean agreement, does it? What matters most is the health of your patient.

For patients who seek an aligned provider, the path is not immediately obvious. That’s why we are dedicating an entire breakout session to this in our February conference titled, “A Patient’s Guide to Finding Aligned Providers” with panelists including Dr. Joe Varon, Dr. Kat Lindley, Dr. Keith Berkowitz, and Dr. JP Saleeby.

Reason 3: Your Doctor is Not Up-to-Date on Current Science

If you happen to know more about your health condition than your doctor, that may not be an immediate red flag. Nobody expects every doctor to be an expert in every condition.

What if your doctor is not receptive to new information though? For example, what would happen if you sent your doctor treatment guidance they may not have been aware of? Would they review the information with curiosity, or dismiss it out of hand?

A dismissive doctor is going to have a hard time making patients feel comfortable. As bad as that sounds, it could be worse. Maybe your doctor is behind on the science because they’re just not very scientific.

There’s no doubt that science and medicine are deeply intertwined. Does that mean the average doctor should be carrying out experiments, conducting research, and teaching university classes in biology?

Surely not, but the unfortunate truth is that many doctors fall short in this department. That places the onus on patients when it really shouldn’t be. In theory, doctors are board-certified, have been to medical school, and are part of a medical practice. If you find yourself receiving more healthcare information from friends and family members than from your doctor, it might be time to start looking for a new one.

Reason 4: Your Doctor Makes Errors in Treatment or Diagnosis

This one goes without saying, but it’s worth mentioning because errors in treatment or diagnosis happen more often than you’d think.

According to a 2023 study published in the BMJ, nearly 800,000 patients die or are permanently disabled annually in America because dangerous diseases are misdiagnosed. And those are just the official numbers. What about all the people who suffer in silence?

The bottom line: errors in treatment and diagnosis happen. Even the best doctors in the world make mistakes sometimes. Mistakes can range from small oversights to significant misdiagnoses with life-altering consequences. If a mistake leaves you with a chronic condition, or impacts a pregnancy, then it’s likely time to schedule an appointment elsewhere.

A good doctor will acknowledge and learn from any error they encounter. But if you find mistakes are a recurring theme, or if your doctor is dismissive of your concerns about potential errors, or unwilling to learn from their mistakes – then this is a serious red flag.

Patient safety should always be a top priority, and consistent errors compromise this fundamental aspect of care. Remember, it’s your right to seek a second opinion if you’re uncertain about your diagnosis or treatment.

Reason 5: Your Doctor Rushes Your Appointments

If you find yourself being rushed out the door during your appointments, it might be time to find a new doctor.

It’s not uncommon for doctors to have tight schedules. However, if you consistently feel rushed during your appointments, it’s a problem. Family doctors should focus on quality, not just efficiency, especially when it impacts patient care.

If your doctor doesn’t take the time to listen to your concerns, fully explain your condition, or answer your questions, you might not be getting the care you need.

Good communication is crucial for effective care, and being rushed can lead to misunderstandings, missed symptoms, or a feeling of being undervalued as a patient.

How to change your doctor