Changing Doctors? What Do You Need?

Whether you’ve moved, your current primary care physician is retiring, or you just want a change, you may need to find a new doctor. What’s involved with changing doctors? How do you change doctors? Here is some information that might help you if you’re looking into changing doctors.

Why would you change doctors?

There are many reasons why someone might look for a new primary care physician. Maybe you or your doctor are moving to a new area, and visiting that physician is no longer an option. Perhaps you’ve had the same family doctor ever since you can remember and now she’s retiring. Or maybe you’re not comfortable with your current doctor, and you want to try a new primary care doctor.

Whatever your reasons for changing doctors, there are some things to do before you say goodbye to your old doctor.

Before leaving your current doctor

If you have time to look for a new doctor, do so before leaving your current doctor. You may have difficulties finding a new healthcare provider that meets your needs, so try to find a new one before you must leave your doctor.

Schedule an appointment with your doctor to get an update on your health, and take notes. Not only does this give you a sense of your current overall health, it can provide your new doctor with important information.

You may want to tell your doctor why you’re changing doctors, but you do not have to do this. Your doctor might appreciate the feedback – especially if it can improve the quality of care for other patients – but you don’t have to force yourself to have an uncomfortable conversation.

Finding a new doctor

Ask friends, family members, or your current doctor for a referral. Suggestions from people whose opinions you value are a better place to start than randomly choosing a doctor.

Be sure to do your research while changing doctors. This is your opportunity to learn more about your new primary care physician. If education or experience are important factors to you, track down this information to help you make your decision. MANA’s Find a Doctor page helps you find a great doctor, and each physician has a page filled with information about his or her credentials and qualifications. We often have information about the causes our doctors support, their families, and their interests, too.

Online reviews can be helpful as well, but it’s important to look over online reviews and star ratings carefully. Does that negative review actually reflect on the doctor’s abilities, or the upset patient’s frustrating day and a parking ticket he received while in the doctor’s office?

Check to make sure that your new doctor is in your insurance network.

Meeting with your new doctor

Have your old doctor forward medical records to your new doctor before your appointment. One of the benefits of visiting a doctor in the MANA network is that your new MANA doctor will have easy access to your current medical records. You can always view your medical information in the myMANA patient portal. If it is a physician outside the MANA network, you will need to complete a records release form to give permission for the former provider to share the records with the new physician. 

Be ready to provide info about your health history, contact info for your former doctor, and insurance information.

Prepare any question you have, or information you want your new doctor to know before your meeting.

Reflect on your experience with your new doctor after your first appointment. Did he listen? Were you comfortable? Do you trust him to be your new primary care physician?

It’s OK to meet with several doctors before choosing one for good. Your primary healthcare provider is your guide to maintaining wellness. It’s important that you are able to build a relationship with and trust your doctor. Schedule an appointment with a MANA doctor today!