Is it important to stick with same doctor?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by rawdawg, Jul 13, 2009.

  1. rawdawg macrumors 6502

    Jan 7, 2009
    First off I should explain I HARDLY EVER go to the doctor. Even if I get sick. And also it's important to note I live in NYC and so it's not like I've had a family doctor my whole life in a small town where the doctor might actually remember me.

    That said, I've actually changed doctors dozens of times growing up as a military brat and moving ever 3 years where medical service is very much not like a family practice situation to begin with. I settled in NYC for college and used NYU's hospital when necessary. As you can see I've never really had a specific doctor before.

    With my first job after college I finally got health insurance and choose my first doctor. I visited him maybe 4 or 5 times (sometimes not even getting him but a nurse instead). Still, he has records of the usual batteries of tests I've gone through (allergies, asthma..., EKG)

    I got laid off a few years later, got a last minute physical before my health insurance ran out, and have been insurance free for 4+ years. It's been YEARS since I've been there.

    I finally got overpriced freelancers health insurance and after shelling out $300/month the past 6 months I figure I should take advantage of it and get a physical. But that doctor doesn't take my insurance. I can choose a different doctor at the same practice but not my old one (which I only had a few years anyhow).

    My girlfriend got my an appointment with her doctor. Is it important to stick with the same practice? I don't have a serious medical history of anything. Other then my records I don't think he remembers me anyhow. Are records even important when it comes to blood work for annual physical reasons? Should I try to stay in the same practice or is it perfectly fine going someplace else. (i.e. Are my non-serious medical records important enough for me to want to stick to the same place?)

  2. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    I would say that sticking with the same doctor is a better idea than seeking any type of medical advice online. :)

    The short answer, if you have nothing really wrong with you and you have no real weird thing going on that would need constant monitoring then seeing various doctors should be fine. Eventually it may be nice to settle down with one for a while, but it's not critical.

    That being said, I prefer the same doctor for numerous reasons. One, if there were a time when I needed something along the lines of pain management medication then my regular doctor could help me and not think I was in there for some quick fix, if he knew my history for not accepting such medication in the past.

    I think having the same doctor allows him/her to better treat you as opposed to just treating the illness.

    However, after over a decade with one doctor I had to switch due to relocation and I have to admit that the importance to me personally of seeing my regular doctor became higher. It is impossible for me to do this, but I suddenly discovered how much I would prefer to see my old doctor for a current condition.

    I came from a large city and had a regular doctor. Just an FYI as it is possible.
  3. Jaffa Cake macrumors Core

    Jaffa Cake

    Aug 1, 2004
    The City of Culture, Englandshire
    I have to deal with the doctor quite regularly, and I've switched several times over the last few years. In fact, I think I've only seen my current actual doctor once in the past three years, when I've been in I've either seen another member of the practice or a nurse.

    Of course, the situation between the UK and US may be very different (certainly, how we go about our healthcare differs a lot what with the NHS and stuff) but i would think there would be little problem in transferring your records to another doctor. After all, it'll happen all the time with people (and doctors) moving from one town to another.

    With regard to the blood tests, I would think these will be kept permanently by your doctor – my doctor certainly has mine, even from before I was at my current practice.
  4. xraydoc macrumors demi-god


    Oct 9, 2005
    Wirelessly posted (BlackBerry9630/ Profile/MIDP-2.0 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/105)

    My opinion, obviously biased (see screen name), is that seeing the same doctor is very important. People who jump from doctor to doctor too often end up getting blood tests, x-rays and other tests repeated over and over since doctor A doesn't know what doctor B has already done or what s/he was thinking about as to diagnosis.

    I see either expensive wastes of money or dangerous errors when people doctor hop too often.

    Not saying to stick with a doctor you don't like, but to be very careful if you never see one doctor on a regular basis.
  5. abijnk macrumors 68040


    Oct 15, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    I agree with you.

    Until there is some sort of uniform records access for doctors the risks involved with changing doctors a lot is too much in my eyes, especially if you have some ongoing medical condition.
  6. eawmp1 macrumors 601


    Feb 19, 2008
    If you see the same doctor, assuming you feel comfortable with him/her, for years, a longitudinal relationship forms. Trends can be better detected with longitudinal care. Tracking slow but steady changes in weight, height, blood tests, etc. can lead to earlier interventions.

    Doctor shopping can lead to duplication of services, overlapping medications with often serious interactions, and result in poor care. If a doctor has to spent 10 minutes reviewing your past history at a firts visit, he/she has less time to address your immediate needs. OBTW, using ED's and Urgent Cares for minor illnesses such as colds will lead to overuse of antibiotics.

    And yes, as a disclaimer, I am a primary care physician.
  7. toolbox macrumors 68020


    Oct 6, 2007
    Australia (WA)
    In my opinion it is, because they i guess know you and don't have to stuff around reading through notes. The only time i don't see him is when he is on leave.
  8. .Andy macrumors 68030


    Jul 18, 2004
    The Mergui Archipelago
    Having a good, regular doctor that you trust is one of the best things you can do for your health.
  9. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    I think seeing a regular doctor is important, but I also do not have a regular doctor since I move often.

    I also believe that the younger doctors I've seen have done better than older doctors. That's based on my own experiences, and I think it's because experience doesn't trump enthusiasm. My new doctor is amazing. Really. He really takes an interest, and seems knowledgeable about everything. Perhaps his info is just "fresher". I'm not sure. Anyway, I'll need to find another doctor soon. :( As good as he is, I'm moving again.
  10. Peterkro macrumors 68020


    Aug 17, 2004
    Communard de Londres
    Having seen a lot of GP's in my time if you find a good doctor hang on to them I travel a hundred miles to see my doctor I've now been seeing for over twenty years.
  11. conch575 macrumors 6502


    May 29, 2009
    Sydney, Australia
    Well if you like him/her and he's a good bloke, stick with it. Alsothere is much less hassle when you stay with the same person.
  12. Legolamb macrumors 6502a


    Nov 27, 2006
    North of where I'd like to be
    Only if he/she is good AND only if you know that continuity of treatment and the knowledge that your doctor builds up about you over time, is important.
  13. iPhoneNYC macrumors 6502a


    Nov 25, 2007
    Going to the doctor for regular checkups is important, especially as you get older. It is also beneficial for that doctor to have a your history to track changes on many important tests. This will lead to quality medical advise for you. On your end, you need to find someone you like, that you can trust and either you can afford or takes your medical insurance. Once you actually think the doctor has your best interest's in mind it's a lot easier to go.

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