I am an advocate for self-care and taking responsibility for your health. That means taking control of your health care itself. It also means that we are not required to believe everything we read, see, or hear from any source…not even health care professionals. Yes, I do recommend listening to your health care sources carefully, however, your health is still your responsibility. You owe it to yourself to do your own research and make sure you get the care you deserve. Here are some simple ways to avoid health care mistakes.
Avoid Health Care Mistakes #1: Check Personal Information
Mistakes happen, even with experienced physicians and their offices. Usually, they are little things that don’t impact the patient’s health but are mistakes, nonetheless. Each time you have an appointment or tests done, look at your personal information. Make sure it’s all correct and make any changes needed such as a new phone number or address. This could mean the difference in getting vital health info in a timely manner or not.
Avoid Health Care Mistakes #2: Write Down Questions and Concerns
Doctors aren’t mind readers. They rely on the patient to provide vital information about symptoms and issues. It can be difficult to remember everything you want to say to your doctor on the spot. I recommend writing down all questions and concerns in advance of an appointment. This goes double for any tests, procedures, or surgeries. It is also helpful to have handy any research you’ve done about your condition or treatment. This may help to expedite any treatment or future health care decisions.
Avoid Health Care Mistakes #3: Communicate Well
Another stumbling block for physicians and patients is good communication. Patients can be undereducated in medical terminology and, therefore, not know how to explain things. On the flip side, physicians call use too much medical terminology and not be understood. Both are frustrating.
I recommend that you always speak confidently and be prepared with, at least, basic knowledge of what you’re talking about. Ask quality questions. And, if you don’t understand what your doctor has told you, ask him or her to reword it or repeat the information.
Avoid Health Care Mistakes #4: Ask for A Second Opinion
Our society tends to treat doctors as infallible and as though they live on a pedestal. Yes, they have studied long and hard to become doctors, but they are still human. Doctors get things wrong for many reasons just as we all do. It is in your best interest to always get a second opinion when it comes to your diagnosis or recommended treatments or medications. This is especially true if your life is on the line.
Did you know that cancer misdiagnosis happens more often than you think? According to statistics, it happens up to 28% of the time. That is not even acceptable as far as I’m concerned. Think about how devastating it is any way to hear bad news, but what if it was a mistake? And what if they missed it completely? Get a second opinion!
Avoid Health Care Mistakes #5: Be Authoritative
Doctors hate it when their patients think they know everything, however, it’s important to show confidence and authority where your health is concerned. Imagine you’ve been feeling unwell for a while, but the doctor says there is nothing wrong for the third time. Rather than accepting it, you can say “Please, will you take some labs to be sure?” That way, anything that is potentially dangerous will show up and not get missed. He or she might not go for an MRI or other complicated tests because they’re expensive, but a blood test is inexpensive and fairly routine.