Navigating Healthcare – Patient Safety and Personal Healthcare Management

Understanding Your Health

Posted in Healthcare Information, Personal Health Record by drnic on October 22, 2008

1 in 10 Americans understand the health care system…….
So says the Agency for Healthcare Research (AHRQ)This divides up as:
12 percent were proficient
53 percent had intermediate skills
22 percent had basic skills
14 percent had below basic skills

Frightening stuff. Some good advice on their site worth repeating

  • Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask why you’re getting the medicine prescribed for you. Ask what can go wrong. Ask how to take it
  • Ask what the alternatives to treatment are. Do you really need this treatment? Are there others that are less painful, costly, more effective, longer lasting?
  • Ask for a second opinion. Your doctor won’t be offended. In fact, you’re a fool if you don’t. It’s simply a smart move.
  • Ask how much treatment or surgery costs. This cost isn’t imaginary. It’s real and can affect your pocketbook with copays and deductibles.
  • Find out if your insurance company agrees to pay for your care. The last thing you need to worry about is whether you will be reimbursed for your care. You need to recover, not be afraid of the cost.
  • Follow your doctor’s advice and call them if you have outcomes that are different than discussed. Make sure you know who to call and have the numbers handy before you have surgery.
  • Be proactive and engaged. If you don’t someone else will take up the time and you’ll be left wondering why you had a bad outcome.
  • Take a family member or close friend with you when you go to the doctor or hospital. That way you don’t have to spend your time trying to remember the advice or instructions given to you. After all, you’re the patient and should be able to act like one!

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