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Your Healthy Family: How to maintain a good relationship with your primary care physician

Breaking up with your primary care doctor can be hard to do Breaking up with your primary care doctor can be hard to do
COLORADO SPRINGS -

Like many relationships in our lives, there may come a time when you feel you are at odds with your primary care physician.  What should you do, should you bolt and simply find a new primary care doctor?  Let's face it, breaking up is hard to do whether it's with a girlfriend or boyfriend, your child's pediatrician or your doctor.  While it is a customer service based relationship, for some reason it can be intimidating to tell your doctor how you feel, especially if things are not going the way you think they should with them.  

Dr. Ian Tullberg, Urgent Care Medical Director with UCHealth Memorial says, there should be good feelings of trust with your medical providers, centered around the ability to have free flowing and honest discussions.   

”Having that open communication is really necessary and if you can't have that open communication with your doctor, if you don't feel your relationship is that kind of relationship then perhaps you should consider finding another primary care doctor.  There are some things that do need to be brought up between a patient and their doctor, and they are things that most people just really don't want to talk about.”

When you feel things are not going right in your relationship with your doctor,  Dr. Tullberg says there are some steps you should take before simply finding a new doctor.

“Number one you need to figure out why you want to break up with your doctor.  If it's because of something like you just you can't get an appointment when you need it, you may need to make sure that is realistic expectations.  If you're mad because you can't get into your primary care doctor in a day, you still may not have the most realistic expectations.  If you feel that you’re not getting medications when you feel you need them is also something that may not be a fair expectation.”

Next say's Dr. Tullberg comes the hard part, but it’s also the biggest key to making sure you have the right kind of relationship with your primary care doctor.

 “I know this is difficult, but talk to your doctor about it.  Sit down with them, and remember we  are human, we need to know what what you're thinking and what you don’t like about what is going on.  It may be that personalities just don’t mix well, sometimes there are people that just clash.  Tell them about it, just say ‘you know I'm not feeling very comfortable when I come in here’.  The great thing is that with those type of conversations you'll probably find out, that doctor may actually be one of the best doctors out there because they're not treating your virus with an antibiotic.  They're not over treating your pain with addictive pain medications when you really don't need them.  They're sticking with what's called evidence based medicine, and  they're giving you the type of treatment that is necessary without over treating.”

Finally says Dr. Tullberg, if a conversation with your doctor just isn't possible for what ever reason, at the very least call the office and let them know when you find a new doctor.

“For folks that don't want to go into the office, because they don’t want to pay a copay to tell their doctor ‘I don't want to see you anymore’, at least call the office.  That is truly the best thing to do and that way they can get your medical records transferred to where you are going.  You will be talking to office staff, and they are not going to take it personally.”

Just like in our interpersonal relationships sometimes those frank conversation can be the hardest ones to have, but in any relationship they are usually the key to a good relationship.

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