In 2006, Drs. Michael Roizen and Mehmet Oz wrote a book on how to be a smart patient. They felt it was important for patients to be active participants in their health. As your health advocate, I will do the same thing. It’s important to advocate for yourself as well.
The book shows you how to become your own medical sleuth, tracing your medical family tree and winding your way through the pitfalls of any health care situation.
Here are 8 of my favorite suggestions for being a smart patient from the book:
Stop Being Passive
Remember the doctor works for you and you are in charge of your healthcare. Smart patients are more assertive and ask questions and politely challenge what they don’t understand.
Make A List Questions Before Your Appointment
Make a list of questions before you see your physician. Patients who are prepared for their visits and ask questions will have a better understanding of their health condition, treatment options, and long-term prognosis.
Sue’s Tip: Consider bringing a health advocate along or a family member to your visits to help you remember what was discussed at the visit.
Know Your Family History
It’s smart to check with family members when possible about any hereditary diseases that you might be prone to. This way you can determine if you have any risk factors for genetic or family-related conditions.
Bring A List Of All Your Medications
Bring this list to all medical appointments. This helps to avoid duplications of medications and possible drug to drug interactions.
Sue’s Tip: Now that most people have smartphones, you can take a picture of all of the medications (making sure to capture the mg and dosing instructions) … you can even put them all together on your counter and capture them all at once! So Easy!
Use The Same Pharmacy Each Time You Refill
It’s also not a bad idea to become friendly with your pharmacist. Consultations are free and pharmacists have a wealth of information about drug side effects, the drug to drug interactions, and ways to reduce drug costs.
Understand How To Take Your Medications
It’s important to know the following:
- What is the medication treating?
- Does it replace anything else you are taking?
- How do you take it – should it be taken at a certain time of day, on an empty stomach, or with food?
- How long should you take the medication?
- What are the common side effects?
- Is it safe to take with your other medications?
Stop Playing The Waiting Game
Ask when a test result is going to be available and call the office that day to get the results. Don’t depend on the office to call you with results in a timely fashion or to notify you when your test results are abnormal.
Sue’s Tip: Allow me, as your health advocate, to make sure that the results are delivered in a timely manner and talk them over with me.
Keep A Copy Of Your Medical Records
Also be sure to sign up for patient portals to get copies of the most recent lab tests, office notes, or x-ray reports.
Sue’s Tip: Not only should you keep a copy of your medical records but you should also make sure one or more trusted family members know where they are or has a copy.
Call Severino Health Advisors for a free 15-minute consultation.