Is it Time for a New Endocrinologist?

Use this checklist to figure out whether your current endocrinologist is the best fit for you.

Stacey Feintuch
Reviewed by
Philip Levy, MD
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When you have diabetes, you may be seeing your endocrinologist more frequently than you see some of your closest friends. So it helps if your doctor provides not just clinical excellence but also the compassion that makes your visits pleasant—and takes your care to the next level.

In fact, compassion isn't just the icing on the cake when it comes to medical treatment. Numerous studies in the Journal of Family Practice, the Archives of Internal Medicine and elsewhere show the compassion leads to better compliance (meaning you'll be more likely to stick with your diabetes management plan), improved outcomes and even lower healthcare costs. Unfortunately, not every doctor scores an A+ in bedside manner: According to a national survey by the Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare, only 53% of patients and 58% of doctors rated the U.S. healthcare system as a compassionate one.

So how does your endocrinologist rate when it comes to clinical expertise and compassion? Ask yourself the following questions; if you can check three or more, it may be time to find a new practitioner.

✓ Your overall experience is not positive.
✓ You dislike your endocrinologist's bedside manner.
✓ Your endocrinologist doesn't listen to you or encourage you
   to ask questions.
✓ Your endocrinologist is unsympathetic, cold or disrespectful.
✓ You don't feel confident about your endocrinologist's ability.
✓ You feel rushed and often leave appointments with some of
   your questions unasked.
✓ Your endocrinologist uses terms you don't understand.
✓ Your visits lack continuity—you constantly have to repeat yourself.
✓ Your endocrinologist doesn't seem confident or knowledgeable
   about the latest diabetes treatment options.
✓ Your endocrinologist doesn't share test results or explain why
   a certain test or treatment is recommended.
✓ You consistently have to wait a long time for your appointment,
   are on hold for a while when you call or can't get convenient
   appointment times.
✓ Your endocrinologist doesn't return your messages or call in refills.
✓ Your endocrinologist is rude, condescending or defensive.
✓ The office staff isn't friendly or helpful.
✓ You were misdiagnosed, or an error was made in your treatment.
✓ You just don't have a good feeling about your endocrinologist.
✓ Your endocrinologist is self-centered.
✓ Your endocrinologist doesn't follow through (for example,
   doesn't call when they say they will).

Before you leave your endocrinologist
Once you've decided that you're changing endocrinologists, make the transition smooth. You should:

✓ Schedule a final visit with the endocrinologist you're leaving. 
✓ Have copies of all medical records sent to your new
   endocrinologist, including notes and test results.

April 2013