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Everyone has a “bad doctor” story. What’s yours?

The medical world can be highly frustrating for patients to navigate. Between scheduling appointments and trying to explain symptoms to the doctor, many patients feel like good treatment is out of their grasp.

Doctors are the gatekeepers to information about a patient’s own body, which means that they also have a degree of control over their health. It’s important to find a doctor who you can trust to help you be the healthiest version of yourself. Although this task is easier said than done, there are a few ways to sort out the best providers from the bad apples.

What do reviews show?

Before you make your first appointment, a little online research can give you a sense of what to expect. Good reviews should highlight the doctor’s listening skills, knowledge and respectful demeanor. If other patients consistently report that the doctor failed to take them seriously or misdiagnosed their problem, you may want to seek a different doctor.

However, online reviews will not guarantee that a provider is skilled or flawed. Be aware that reviews can be skewed in either direction. Generally, a larger number of reviews can give a more accurate reading of how other patients view the doctor or facility.

Does the doctor rule out conditions too quickly?

Historically, doctors have misdiagnosed some patients who don’t fit into the typical profile of an illness. This is especially common for women patients. It’s often a bad sign if your doctor tells you that you can’t have a certain condition due to your age, gender or race despite your symptoms.

Instead, good providers will consider your symptoms and examine the possibility that you have the condition – even if you aren’t the type of person who normally develops it.

Does the doctor offer alternatives?

Although some conditions only respond to one or two treatments, many conditions have several ways to address symptoms. If your doctor steers you away from certain treatment options without a medical reason, they might be doing a disservice. The best providers will lay out the options on the table, offer their recommendation and allow you to make an informed decision about your healthcare.

So many Tennessee residents suffer through a bad experience before they find the right provider. With any luck, these tips will help you avoid poor medical care and receive proper diagnoses.

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