According to a Wall Street Journal article by Laura Landro there are 8 rules to become a smarter patient.
Do your homework- there is a lot of misinformation on the web. I have heard it described as the cesspool of misinformation. How do you know what is good and bad? Most Patient Advocates know the right and wrong information to subscribe to.
For the 8 rules for a smarter patient:
1. Question your diagnosis.
The leading cause of malpractice claims affect ~5% adults a year.
Second opinions are your right; never worry about what your doctor may think. It is your health.
2. Disclose everything:
Herbal supplements, recreational drug use, special dietary practices and of course all medications. Studies have shown that 42% of patients don’t tell their doctors the whole story and this can be detrimental to success.
3. Get Recommended treatments. Follow up with instructions for care. 50% of patients are on antibiotics for viral infections. Are you getting the required cancer screenings for you age? We get oil changes on our cars why not routine maintenance on our bodies?
4. Follow up on results.
No news isn’t always good news. If you haven’t heard back on results then call and take action. 70% of doctors agree they get more alerts than they can manage and this can lead to delays in care.
5. Don’t be afraid to speak up :
Be assertive or have someone with you that can. We find this is a primary role of patient advocates. What pills are you getting in the hospital? Will they cause problems with other conditions I have?
6. Follow your regimen:
As many as 50% are not taking medicines appropriately. If you are not following the recommendations after hospital release it can put you right back in.
7. Keep medical records:
Without accurate medical records you are starting over each time. Many practices now have electronic medical records that can transfer but not always. It is your responsibility to keep a file yourself on yourself. Up to date medical records can help speed long term recovery.
8. Do your homework:
Do some research about your disease. However the is much misinformation out there and you need to be skilled in finding the right sources. Again Patient Advocates can be a resource.