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 because of Sjogren’s.
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, NewYorkTimes.com 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.
Because 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
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.
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