At this age 50-plus stage of the game, more visits to a healthcare provider are often required. A physician needs to be proactive, a good listener, should make you feel comfortable, and allow you to have a voice in the management of your healthcare needs. Currently, there are 145 million folks who suffer from a chronic disease, so doctors also need to help their patients cope psychologically with whatever situation their particular illness brings. Suffice it to say, today, patients are seeking compassionate medicine, humanized practitioners, who are empathetic partners in their healthcare journeys.

Leaving a medical practice is not an easy feat. It leaves a patient feeling vulnerable/uncovered in case of an emergency. Plus there is the hassle of transferring medical records to a new medical practice and having to get to know a physician all over again. Still, if your doctor is not fitting the bill and is unable to fulfill all of your expectations as a patient, should you fire him/her?

Take these factors into consideration to determine if you should give your physician the boot:

Does your physician not value your input? Are you unable to ask questions, or make suggestions? Is the doctor arrogant, dismissive or condescending and makes you feel as if your input is unnecessary? Do you always leave the medical appointment feeling as if there was so much more you needed to ask or discuss but were afraid of being made to feel like a mental midget?

Is the doctor’s office chaotic? Do telephone calls to the physician or office staff not get returned in a timely manner? Are the staffers unpleasant and curt? Does it take several calls to the office to ask for prescription refills? Do they sit on test results? Are appointments a hassle to get? Do you find yourself waiting to be seen by the doctor for over an hour?

Are there constant interruptions? Is your doctor scattered or constantly distracted by office staff interruptions, calls on her cell phone, other doctors asking her to step out of the examining room? Do you feel as if she is not giving you her undivided attention?

Are you pushed off to gatekeepers? Do you get to see your own doctor only on rare occasions because you’re always given an appointment with a nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant?

Is your doctor keeping up with the latest? Does your doctor mention any current studies, latest research, or articles he’s read in medical journals pertaining to your particular issue?   This is called evidence-based medicine. The concept is about making sure that when decisions are made they are made on the basis of the most up-to-date, solid, reliable, scientific evidence. In the case of medicine or health care, these are the decisions about the care of individual patients.

Is your healthcare provider territorial? Is your provider hesitant to send you to a specialist if need be? Is there a problem in seeking a second opinion? Is your physician difficult to reach if another doctor needs to consult with him about your case?

Are prescription drugs explained? When a new prescription drug is written does your physician take the time to explain all of the side effects, things you need to avoid/do while taking it, the potential costs involved, and the possible choice of a generic drug?

Is your physician germ conscious? Sanitary practices are super important when dealing with patients. Many worry about getting sicker after visiting their doctor’s offices because of the germs all around. It is not rude to ask your physician to wash their hands before examining you. Nor it is wrong to inquire as to the cleanliness of the examination equipment. As a patient, it is your job to be aware of the health environment but don’t let fear of contagion keep you away from needed office visits.

Can you reach your provider anytime? If you need to speak with your doctor is he accessible by phone, email or text? Can you send him a message via a secure patient portal online?