Finding a New Doctor
"I first searched for a new doctor when I moved away from home to go to college. I was definitely overwhelmed at first, but I was recommended a great doctor by my local support group! Don't worry if the first doctor you visit isn't a right fit - there's no harm in getting a second opinion or finding a different doctor that you connect better with. I'm so glad I was able to find someone I trust with my care, because it's definitely lessened my worry and increased my confidence as an IBD patient." -Amy Bugwadia, National Council of College Leaders
The relationship between a patient and a doctor is extremely important, but finding a new doctor can be a difficult challenge. A good patient-doctor relationship is one based on clear communication, solid expectations, and positive support. There are several key elements to consider when deciding on a doctor. A good doctor should be supportive of their patient, understanding of their patient’s concerns, and knowledgeable about their patient’s case. In addition, external factors such as location, cost, and personality may also have an impact. By carefully considering all of their most valued desires, a patient can confidently select a doctor and establish a beneficial relationship.
Before the Visit
Doing preparatory work is key before meeting a new doctor for the first time. In terms of finding a new doctor, it may be a good idea to ask your current doctor for a list of recommendations or to connect with other patients online or through a support group to ask them about their experiences. Many websites also offer reviews of doctors. It's a good idea to also call the potential new doctor's office to check whether they accept your insurance. Before your visit, ensure to organize your materials and compile a list of medications you are currently taking. It may be helpful to also as your current GI doctor to fax your patient file over to your new doctor's office.
During the Visit
Ensure to show up early to your first appointment, as you will likely have to fill out some additional paperwork. Bringing a family member or friend for additional support may help you feel more comfortable. Take a small notepad to the appointment to take note of what the doctor says and to write down any questions you may have. Be sure to share these questions and concerns with your doctor. Remember to relax - your doctor is here to support you through your patient journey!
After the Visit
Follow your doctor's advice in terms of treatment plan and other general comments. Think about how your appointment went and discuss this with your family. If desired, consult with another doctor as a second opinion. Be sure you feel comfortable with your doctor and know how to contact the doctor's office in case any needs should arise before your next visit.