If you don’t feel comfortable voicing key health information to your doctor or feel rushed during every appointment, it might be time to look for a new one.
Robert Altenau MD, a family medicine doctor at Rudemiller Family Medicine, explains traits you should look for in a primary care doctor.
It’s important that you feel comfortable speaking candidly with your doctor about your health history, even about taboo topics, like alcoholism, recreational drug use and cigarette smoking. “I try to remind people that you’re not going to get in trouble with the law or anything,” Dr. Altenau explains. However, he stresses that he does need to share information with a third party if a patient reveals plans to hurt him or herself, or someone else.
Regardless, revealing all pertinent health information is critical for your doctor to give you a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.
#2: Active Listener
If your doctor prescribes you to take an antibiotic three times a day for the next week, for example, and that doesn’t fit into your lifestyle for whatever reason, your doctor should suggest an alternative option, should one be available, that works for you.
#3: Coordinator of Your Care
Your primary care doctor should oversee your medical care. This means they:
- Coordinate with any specialists involved in your health plan
- Make sure you’re following up appropriately with each specialist
- Have your preventive care (disease screenings, physicals, vaccinations) done on time
“You can track it, too, but I’m keeping an eye on everything, and I think that gives people peace of mind,” Dr. Altenau says.