Think it's time to switch doctors? Keep in mind that physicians and their staffs are under ever-increasing pressure to save time, see more patients, and focus on electronic record-keeping, so try to be understanding of once-in-a-while glitches at the doctor’s office. But sometimes, the relationship with your doctor just isn’t fixable. Maybe you’ve repeatedly tried to solve problems like long waits for appointments or difficulty getting prescription refills—with little success—or perhaps you’ve simply lost faith in his or her advice. “It’s a mistake to stick with a doctor you don’t trust, for whatever reason,” advises Kevin Fiscella, M.D., M.P.H., professor of family medicine and public health sciences and associate director of the Rochester Center to Improve Communication in Health at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York.  Here’s how to switch doctors without drama.

Don’t worry about explaining why you're leaving. It’s really fine to move on without telling your doctor why you’re making that choice, says John Santa, M.D., a medical adviser to Consumer Reports.

Request your medical records pronto. Ask staff for the necessary forms. You have a right to get either a paper or—if it’s available—an electronic copy of your records and to have your provider send them to someone else on your behalf. Be aware that it’s legal for doctors to charge a “reasonable” fee for that service; the amount you may need to pay varies from state to state. And know the time constraints doctors are under: Your provider must forward your records to you within 30 days but can get a 30-day extension. If your doctor participates in the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Care Record Incentive Program, he or she must get records to you within four business days.

Research new candidates thoroughly. Make sure that anyone you are considering is board-certified (the medical board can also tell you whether that doctor has been disciplined). Check whether your potential new doctor is affiliated with hospitals you trust, and ask about office policies that are important to you, such as the availability of same-day appointments, how after-hours medical problems are handled, and how soon you can expect the doctor to get back to you via phone or secure email.

Make sure your new doctor can take you on. Before switching doctors, ensure that the physician you’re considering is taking new patients and that she’ll accept your insurance plan.