5 Reasons It Might Be Time to Find a New Doctor
Anyone who has psoriasis knows how frustrating living with the condition can be. Most people with the condition will experience flares or periods of time when symptoms are worse, and periods of remission (periods of time when symptoms are better or cleared up. To help manage symptoms and experience fewer flares it can be important to work with a healthcare provider and collaborate on a treatment plan. A good partnership with a healthcare provider can oftentimes make the difference between a positive and negative treatment outcome. Many patients express frustration, anger, sadness and feeling hopeless because they feel the provider who is treating their psoriasis isn't helping. If you can relate to some of the aforementioned feelings, it might be time to evaluate if you are getting everything you need from your provider. A look at some reasons or signs that it might be time to transition to a new healthcare provider.
Are you even listening to me!?
If your psoriasis doctor provides the same treatments and advice no matter what you tell him or her, or seems not to be listening when you talk, it may be time to look for someone else. Since psoriasis impacts individuals so differently it is important for your provider to really listen to you and what you are experiencing. A provider who takes the time to ask you questions about which symptoms are most difficult for you to manage, or what goals do you want out of treatment is important. If your scalp psoriasis is what impacts you the most, but your provider is talking about treatments that are targeting your whole body, but skips over talking about options to manage your scalp - it may be time to consider another provider who will spend the time to listen to how psoriasis is impacting you.
Hand on the door knob
Do you feel like your appointment with your doctor is shorter than the time it takes you to check out at the grocery store? If you find that you wait for an hour for your doctor and then you only get a couple minutes to cover all the things you've been waiting to talk about for 3 months then it might be time to find another practice or a different provider. Often time providers feel the pressure too, they may be seeing large volumes of patients so their appointments are short. Sometimes a follow-up appointment might be scheduled for just 15 minutes. If you feel like you need more than those 15 minutes that is okay, if you feel like you aren't getting quality time in your appointment that is okay too, you have every right to seek out a different provider.
"There isn't anything else I can do for you"
If you find yourself having a conversation with your provider and their answer continues to be "there is nothing else I can do for you," or they keep having you try the same treatment over and over again this might be a sign that it could be time to seek a second opinion or transition to a new provider. Combination therapy can sometimes be an option for some individuals with psoriasis or even enrolling in a clinical trial.
You have more information about treatments than your doctor
Depending on where you go for treatment, a community medical practice versus a large hospital that is affiliated with an academic institution, some providers may have more information (and access) to the newest treatments. If you find that you come to your appointments with the latest FDA approvals for new treatment and literature on clinical trials taking place for psoriasis these could be signs to pay attention to. This isn't to say that you should change providers just yet if you are experiencing this scenario, but if you bring all this new information and your provider isn't willing to discuss new treatments or doesn't offer to assist you in navigating access to these new treatments than this could be a sign that it might be worth finding a new provider or getting a second opinion.
Pay attention to reviews and scores
When you look at online reviews about your provider, or your provider's office you may find an angry review here and there and they may be outliers, but if you find that the vast majority of the reviews talk about how the provider has a poor bedside manner, doesn't listen, pushes only certain treatments, or only gives you 5 minutes of their time, than you might get a glimpse in to what it will be like as a patient of that provider. There are certain requirements that a doctor must meet in each state to maintain their good standing with the state's medical board. You can see if your doctor is in good standing by going to your state's board of medicine website. Many hospitals and practices also survey their patients about their most recent visit or hospital stay. The national standard for collecting and reporting patients experiences is through HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems). The Center for Medicaid and Medicare (CMS) publishes participating hospitals' HCAHPS results on their website. The scores can give you some insight into the experiences other patients have had at the hospital where your provider has their practice.
A better partnership
The choice to change providers is a personal one. Maybe just one of these reasons feels like a deal breaker for you or maybe you feel that a combination of these signs is what precipitates you needing a change, either way, the decision is up to you. If you decide to change providers, know that it is okay to do so. Remeber that your health is important if you feel like a healthcare provider isn't entering into the kind of partnership you need than it is okay to step away and find someone who will.
Does your psoriasis skin feel out of control? How are you managing?