Changing Primary Care Physicians

Building a good doctor/patient relationship takes time.  This is particularly true when the doctor is a specialist.   My primary care doctor suggested that I see a specialist because of my symptoms.  He felt that a Rheumatologist would be better able to treat me.  I trusted my doctor so I went to see the specialist he recommended.  Although, I was not changing primary care physicians, I was nervous about going to see another doctor.  The word rheumatologist itself was intimidating.

Changing Primary care physicians is not easy

Changing Primary Care Physicians because of Sjogren’s.

Changing primary care physicians started here

I feel comfortable at my family doctor’s office.

My family doctor knew about Sjogren’s Syndrome, but referred me to a specialist for ongoing care.  For me, referrals to specialists are always a little worrying.  Basically, what I have is too complicated for my doctor.  This makes me worry.  General practitioners can diagnose most everything, but their practice is to broad to treat everything.  When I think about this, I do feel less worried.  My doctor takes lots of things into consideration when he makes a referral.

  • My medical condition
  • Location of the referral
  • Reputation of the referral
  • Timing of the referral
  • Ease of consultation with the referral
  • Medical Insurance coverage

My doctor is really putting his reputation on the line when he refers me to a specialist.  His referral is based on his knowledge of the specialist.  For this reason, I am confident that the specialist is good.  But since I will be seeing a lot of that doctor, I am still worried about all that goes into changing primary care physicians.

Define Doctor Patient Relationship

In article on Sjogren’s Syndrome, states, “The manifestations of Sjogren’s are numerous and doctors generally are not familiar with them, which results in huge delays in diagnosis.”  How do you define doctor patient relationship?  Whatever definition you use, a referral means building a new working relationship with a doctor.  I have to go over all the personal information that has been shared with my family doctor.

changing primary care physicians can be intimidatingBecause the symptoms of Sjogren’s are not really dramatic, it took me awhile to realize that they might be related.  Now, with another doctor, I am going to have to explain from beginning until the present how the symptoms developed.

We have tried one treatment after another.  The special will want a detailed description of each treatment including my assessment of how they worked.  Then there’s the list of medications I take.  Rational, dosage and affect will be discussed in great detail.  Almost everyone has experience an initial meeting with a new doctor.  This one is particularly worrisome for me.  Because opinions on cause, treatment and severity of Sjogren’s vary so much, I am hoping that the Rheumatologist doesn’t suggest a completely new treatment.

Same Day Doctors Appointment

My experience with doctors related to Sjogren’s Syndrome seems to be typical.  I see doctors from dentists to dermatologists for treat of my symptoms.  My local rheumatologist retired.  She had treated me for a couple of years through my original referral.  She recommended that I go to the Stanford Rheumatology Clinic.  My family doctor gave me a short list of rheumatologists to research.  With so many doctor appointments and work, I try to schedule multiple appointments on one day.  A Stanford Clinic appointment would require a full day of travel and appointments. I would miss work.  So, I did my research before making a decision about another rheumatologist.  I don’t usually pay much attention to online reviews, but i did read a few in making this decision.  I had 5 things that I compared as I made my decision.

  • Location – Because of work, this was a primary consideration.  I did not want to have to drive a long way.
  • Reputation – This meant looking at reviews and relying on them.
  • Availability – I called each office to ask if they were taking new patients.
  • Communication –  When I called, I asked if the doctor could be reached by email with questions.
  • My Doctor’s Opinion – This was the deciding factor for me.

I Made My Choice

changing primary care physicians brought me here

When I realized that same day doctor appointments weren’t going to be possible, I decided on the Stanford Clinic.  I have not regretted that choice.  It turns out that the drive can be part of a nice day off work.  The clinic is efficient and on time.  The doctor is thorough, pleasant and easy to communicate with anytime through email.  Not only that, the Stanford cafeteria serves fantastic meals.  My appointments are every 6 month, but I can ask questions or set up an interim appointment any time.  I hope I don’t have to find another rheumatologist anytime soon.

Visits to the Stanford Rheumatology Clinic are for other blogs.  I wanted to write today to let you know that the frustration, embarrassment, worry about changing primary care physicians is normal particularly with something as personal as Sjogren’s Syndrome.  It would help others and me if you shared your thoughts in the space below.

This site offers non-medical opinions about life with Sjogren’s Syndrome.  Images are clickable links to more information or other websites.  This site is affiliated with and other companies and may receive a commission if items are purchased through this site.  DiagnosisSjogren’ accepts no payments.  Each  company is responsible for their shipping and quality control of their products.  









  1. Astrostar

    hey there

    thanks for sharing this wonderful article, i would like to share my own personal experience on this while i was little at the age of 6 i have a particular nurse who do take care of me when am ill and i do get back on my feet as soon as possible, but due to some reasons we had to relocate unfortunately after some few month of relocating i feel ill and i was taken to a new doctor i felt so uncomfortable with him, even while he treated me i had this doubt in my mind, and it took me quite some while to get back on my feet

    1. James Collins (Post author)

        I think that trust is a major part of complying with what the doctor suggests. Losing a nurse you knew well must have discouraged you which likely hindered your recovery. Thanks so much for your comment.

  2. Jean

    Thank you for this article, I can totally relate. One does tend to get used to your primary Doctor or Specialist. When you are well taken care of you trust them more and have confidence in their abilities to help and care for you. I have always had a fear of getting injections, It’s more about the person administering the shot than the shot itself, It’s a small comparison but comes down to the same principle. Keep up the good work!

    1. James Collins (Post author)

      I agree. Confidence in our doctor is a large part of the battle.  Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

  3. Alex

    Hey James! It is very interesting to come across an article that talks about the relationship between doctor and patient, as I believe it is quite an important topic but not many people consider it. Coming from experience, finding a doctor that knows your body as much as you do, and that you can be open and comfortable is an authentic blessing. One of the worst things ever is to have an ailment and don’t get adequate treatment because you are jumping listening to different doctors that you don’t trust and that provide you with conflicting information. Better to stick to the one you trust!

    Thanks for the information!

    1. James Collins (Post author)

      I agree.  Thanks for reading the post and commenting.

  4. Zayom

    Early diagnosis is important to lessen the effect of Sjögrens on the eyes, mouth and other organs and to reduce damage. The doctor will ask questions about medical history and discuss symptoms. During the physical examination, the doctor will check for: 

    Changes in the eyes, mouth and salivary glands.
    Joint inflammation.
    Muscle weakness.
    Swelling of lymph nodes in the neck.
    The doctor may recommend an eye examination to be done by an ophthalmologist (eye specialist). Several tests help the doctor make a diagnosis. 

    1. James Collins (Post author)

      These are the presenting symptoms.  Each on their own are not bad, but all together can make life difficult.  Thanks so much for commenting.  

  5. Christina

    Ah, this is always a pain. I’ve moved around a lot so I’ve had to change primary care physicians each time. Even if they have your previous records it’s still like starting over…. But I think getting a fantastic doctor is definitely worth the hassle. Glad you’ve had a good experience with your new clinic.

    1. James Collins (Post author)

      There is a learning process for the doc and the patient each time.  Thanks for commenting.

  6. Nuttanee

    Thanks for sharing your experience with us. I cannot phantom what you must have gone through with the changing of the specialists especially with your condition. I would feel the same way too, I would be confused on who to trust and also be worried about finding the right physician that can take care of me that my insurance will cover. I amm glad that Stanford Clinic worked out for you. Cannot wait for your review about them! 

    1. James Collins (Post author)

      I am going to experience my first TeleMed appointment in a month and plan to write a review after that. I’m not sure what that they take because not too many readers will ever interact with Stanford. By the way thanks for commenting


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