To Your Health
5 Rules Every Patient Must Know
They’ll help you get the most from your health care
With medical costs increasing daily, it’s more important than ever to get the most from your appointments with the doctor; here are some ways to be sure you do.
According to the Society for Women’s Health Research, clear communication between you and your doctor is the key to receiving good and cost-effective care.
Five things you must do before and during your next medical appointment:
1. Prepare by writing down the questions and concerns you want to discuss.
2. Call the office a week or two in advance of your appointment to let them know about questions you might have and to make sure there is enough time on the doctor’s schedule to be able to discuss your health issues and answer your questions fully.
3. Bring a copy of all pertinent medical records that you might have in your home files.
4. Be honest with your doctor about your lifestyle. Tell her if you take over-the-counter or herbal supplements. Tell her the truth about your smoking, drinking diet and exercise habits.
5. Know your family history and share it with the doctor.
If you feel your doctor is not paying attention or giving you the time you need, don’t be afraid to get a second opinion or select a new health-care provider. This is part of being a good advocate for your own health.
Keep in mind, too, when dealing with a serious health matter, such as cancer, you may want a health-care “mentor.” The mentor can deal with insurance companies and hospitals and even sit in on conversations with your doctor so that you’re not the only one hearing and evaluating the good–or bad–news.
A mentor can be a contact during hospital stays and can help avoid medical errors in your care. A mentor’s services help allow the patient to be just the patient, which can go a long way in the healing process. Conversely, you may find yourself being a mentor for a parent and a friend. Again, it is another way to ensure that whoever is ill gets the best care possible.