April 2019 Healthcare Forum

It’s Become Imperative to Take More Control and Responsibility for Your Healthcare –Why and How

In Part I of this two-part series, we’ll discuss reasons for assuming more responsibility for your healthcare and ways of reducing your susceptibility to medical errors. Next month we’ll discuss the benefits of having your own personal health record (PHR), hiring (if necessary) a patient advocate and recognizing and learning what to do if physician burnout is affecting your doctor(s).

This month’s forum is an update to Chapter I of our new book, Insider’s Guide to Quality, Affordable Healthcare, available in late May from Amazon.com in soft cover or e-book; then available from most bookstores supplied by Ingram and Bookazine distributors (e.g. Hudson Booksellers). The book is currently available (limited supply) at Op.Cit. Bookstore in Santa Fe and Taos.

Why Take More Responsibility

  • Our healthcare system has become more impersonal and driven by financial concerns.
  • Doctors/health professionals spend less time with you; focused more on their computers.
  • Unclear who’s the captain (coordinator) of your healthcare team; especially if you are seeing several doctors. Do you feel that you (or a family member) become the coordinator?
  • Doctor/hospital/medication errors are the third leading cause of death in America.
  • We put off seeking healthcare because of high insurance deductibles and worry about incurring medically-related debt.
  • There’s an increasing rate of “physician burnout” – A 2014 study showed that about half of doctors have at least one sign of burnout.

How to Assume More Control/Responsibility Reducing Your Risk of Medical Errors

  • Many errors occur during periods of transition (e.g. changing to a new doctor; admission/discharge from the hospital; changing medications).
  • Learn as much as possible about your medical illness. Refer to reliable sources on the Internet (hopkinsmedicine.org; mayoclinic.org). Refer to the Merck Manual. Avoid chat rooms or medication commercials.
  • Ask your doctor questions so you fully understand the risk/rewards of any procedure, new medication, proposed treatment. If you don’t understand, ask for additional explanations in “plain English.”
  • If you’re not feeling well, have a knowledgeable family member or “patient advocate” accompany you to doctor visits. If hospitalized, have your family member (or advocate) spend considerable time overseeing your care.

We welcome your questions about today’s forum. Please leave questions or comments below. We cannot answer questions about your personal medical problems because of medical-legal restrictions and because they are best addressed by your doctor.

If you have family members or friends you think may benefit from this forum, please forward it on to them. If they would like to receive the monthly forum and timely breaking news updates, they can sign up for our mailing list on our website.

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