You are the best advocate for your health.
This is the single most important way to stay healthy.
You are in partnership with your health care provider for the quality of care you will receive.
Remember, you want to be proactive and not reactive. This is your health care not your sick care.
OK, as I promise, here are Seven Quick Tips to help you on your way to be the best advocate possible.
1. Give Information Don’t Wait to be Asked
Your doctor can not read your mind. What you don’t tell him/her will influence their diagnosis. Only you know important facts about your symptoms and health history. Remember, your symptom is a result, not the cause. Tell your doctor what you think he or she needs to know.
Always bring any medications you are taking, or a list of those medicines you are taking, or a list of those medicines. (include when and how often you take them) and what strength. If you have a lot of them an excel spreadsheet might help you keep organized. In that way, when there is a change, adding or deleting it will make it easier to manage.
Tell your doctor about any herbal products you use or alternative medicines or treatments you receive.
2. Ask your doctor or nurse if they have washed their hands before starting to examine you
With MRSA on the rise, hand washing can prevent the spread of infections. Sometimes he/she may use a waterless disinfectant.
3. Get Information
Ask questions. If you don’t, your doctor may think you understand everything that was said. Write down your questions before your visit. List the most important ones first to make sure they get asked and answered.Bonus Tip:Make your appointment if possible, 9:00 am or the first appointment that day. Your doctor will not be in a rushed because of patient’s appointment ran overtime.
4. Take Notes
Ask your doctor to draw pictures if that might help to explain something. Don’t be intimidated! Some doctors do not mind if you bring a tape recorder to help you to ask questions and receive answers. (Always ask first)
5. If you need More Time, Speak Up
Keep in mind if you are going there for an annual physical, you might not be allowed to ask questions that do not address your general health. Most providers will have you schedule an additional appointment for other concerns.
6. Take Information Home
Ask for written instructions. Your doctor also may have brochures and audio/videotapes that can help you. Remember to ask.
7. Follow Up
If you have questions, call or email. If your symptoms get worse, or if you have problems with your medicine, call. If you had test and do not hear from your doctor, call for you test results. With most doctor’s office going paperless, you can now access your medical records online at a secured website. Ask your health care provider about getting access to your information. What you don’t understand, ask for clarification.
Do your homework!
With Knowledge Comes Empowerment
Life to All