Now is a good time to start to be more proactive with your health care and how you interact with your care providers. More Americans than ever before are dealing with chronic illnesses that require a significant amount of time spent with health care professionals. Often their care is dispersed across multiple doctors and practitioners as well.
While that presents a challenge, there are new technologies that allow for more sharing of information across these care providers. Comprehensive care coordination solutions create the opportunity for more visibility into what’s happening with your health at any given time.
Along with the use of technology, which is still reliant on your doctors, there are things you can also do to be more proactive about your health and the care you receive.
Access the Information On Your Patient Portals
You may not even realize this, but almost all doctors and medical practices put information on your patient portal so that you can log in and look at it, sometimes in real-time.
This information might include your lab work, as well as your pathology reports, your clinical notes, visit summaries, medications you take, and more.
It’s a good idea to regularly check this information and make sure you don’t have any questions.
There are a lot of things that your doctors might not even discuss with you simply because they’re busy or they potentially overlooked them. If you keep an eye on your patient portal, you can ask questions.
Just be aware that sometimes taking that information out of context or without an explanation from your doctor can cause unnecessary worry or stress for you, so always use it as information that you can talk to your doctor about, rather than something you look up on your own.
Tell Your Doctor About Things You’re Doing at Home
Many people use supplements, holistic health, and natural remedies. This is likely because these things are more readily available to buy online, and we can also search for information online.
That can be a good thing, but you need to be open and honest with your doctor about the things you do on your own. First, you want to ensure there are no contradictions with other treatments you’re receiving, but you also want to keep them in the loop so they can provide you with the best possible care.
Prepare For Your Doctor’s Visits
When you have upcoming appointments, prepare for them. Doctors are very busy, and you have limited time with them, so make the most of it.
Look up any health information that might be relevant from reliable sources like the National Institutes of Health or similar options. Print it out if you think you need to.
You should write down symptoms you’re experiencing so you remember them and also any questions that you might have as they come up. It can be difficult to remember these things when you’re on the spot.
You might want to start a health journal as well, where you detail things like what you’re eating, what exercise you’re doing, and how you’re sleeping. This will generally help you identify patterns in your life and your health and you can refer back to it when you need to.
If your doctor recommends that you have a procedure or take a new medicine, don’t be afraid to ask why. Your doctor should be able to back up their recommendations and be able to explain to you why potential side effects are outweighed by the benefits of anything they suggest.
It’s really important in general to know about any medicines that you take and how those medicines might affect you. You should have a chart that tells you what medicines to take and when, as well as the dosage, if you take several. Mixing up your medicines, taking more than you should, or taking less than you should can all be very dangerous.
Fire Your Doctor If You Need To
Finally, if you don’t feel comfortable with your doctor or you don’t feel like you can ask questions without them getting defensive, then don’t be afraid to fire them. We’re too often stuck in the idea that once we have a doctor, we have to stick with them forever, and that’s not the case.
You need to have a trusting two-way relationship with your doctor, and if you’re not getting that for any reason, it’s a good thing to find someone else. That’s part of being proactive in your health care.