Starting From Scratch – Building a New Medical Team After a Move
For much of my adult life I have been blessed with an amazing medical team. I had the same primary doctor for over 20 years, pulmonologist and cardiologist for 10 years. I can assure you that it took time (years) to develop trust and understanding of each other. A few months ago, my family and I moved 2,000 miles across the country from the only city my husband and I had ever lived in. It was a huge leap of faith for our family but we were really excited for a change and a new start in a new state. Not to mention an entirely different and new climate. As excited as we all were to move, there was a huge source of worry and anxiety for me and that was how on earth would I be able to find a new medical team and will I ever find doctors who were as good and cared as much as the ones I trusted with my life for decades?
A friend of mine once told me finding a new doctor is like hitting the dating scene after being in a long term serious relationship and she was most definitely right. It is basically like going on a blind date. As I was navigating this process of starting from scratch attempting to build a new medical team for myself, I realized a few things along the way and wanted to share with all of you. Some helpful tidbits that helped ease my fears and nerves.
Do your research
Depending on your insurance or healthcare coverage options, look into the list of providers that are covered. Each healthcare plan is different. You might only have a few options or you might have a ton to choose from. Look for reviews online, but go into that with an open mind. Ask for recommendations. When we first made our move and started making friends, I asked both personally and in local online groups for recommendations of doctors. Personal recommendations for me meant more and held more value over any online rating system. As you are researching, start narrowing down your list of potential doctors until you have one or two you wold like to pursue.
Transfer previous medical records
Once you have decided on a doctor, ask the office for a form to sign to have your medical records transferred from your previous doctor(s) if you are able (depending on each medical practice’s policies etc). This will give your new doctor a look into your history long before you see him or her.
We all know our medical history like the back of our hands. We know our disease well and what are our triggers, allergies, etc. But when it comes time to actually come face to face with your new doctor, chances are really high that you might forget something you had really wanted to talk about. I have a small notebook where I wrote down my entire medical history in and brought it to my first appointment with my new primary doctor. Being a Respiratory Therapist doesn’t exclude me from being extra prepared. I’m glad I did because my doctor told me he really appreciates when patients bring notes in or lists of questions because doctors have very busy schedules and often times it takes awhile to get another appointment if a pressing question/issue wasn’t asked.
Make sure to address everything you want to at your first appointment. It’s best to get it all out on the table so your doctor(s) will be able to see the entire picture of your health. If the appointment seems rushed, voice your frustrations. This is your appointment and you have the right to have time to talk about everything. If possible, ask for a longer appointment for your first one in order to have enough time.
Give them grace
First impressions can make or break a relationship. But it is important to think of the other person. The doctor might be just as nervous as you are. Perhaps they are having a bad day. I’m definitely not excusing any poor behavior, I’m merely stating that giving a new doctor a couple tries before making up your mind is a good idea. But of course if you just aren’t meshing and you have that gut feeling that it isn’t going to work out definitely go back to the drawing board and research another doctor.