Navigating the healthcare system is tricky and making the wrong move can have consequences for your health. Being your own healthcare advocate is a key part of taking care of yourself. It means you are active in making decisions about your health. You work closely with your doctors and care team.
Since there are changes in healthcare happening all the time from the tech used in healthcare to insurance policies changing it is important that you make sure that your needs are met in a way that works for you. In this article, we will go over the ways that you can take charge of your healthcare decisions.
Table of Contents
1. Own the communication
Communicating with healthcare professionals is a big part of being your own advocate. Before you see your doctor, think about what you want to ask. Write your questions down. If something worries you, make a note to talk about it. This helps you remember and makes the most of your time with the doctor.
Finding concierge doctors can also be part of your plan. These doctors give more time and personal care. They can help you understand complex health information. If you choose this kind of care, they can be a key ally in your health team.
When you talk to your doctor, be open and honest. Take your time with the doctor and don’t let them rush you until you’ve had a chance to talk about what you’re thinking and feeling. Good doctors want to listen. They need to know what’s going on with you to help you best.
Read Also: 10 Most Common Preventable Medical Errors
2. Get informed
When you have choices to make about treatment, take your time to think about them. Learn what each option means for your health. Some treatments might help a lot but could also have serious side effects. Others might be safer but take longer to work.
Think about the good and bad points of each choice. Some treatment choices will affect your daily life in some way. There’s also the chance that the treatment may not make you feel better.
Other treatments might be too risky to take part in depending on your risk tolerance. You should talk about all of this with your doctor so they can help you understand the facts.
3. Understand your healthcare plan
Navigating the healthcare system can often feel like a maze. But understanding how it works is a big part of being your own advocate. Start with your health insurance.
Know what it covers and what you might have to pay for. Every plan is different. If you’re not sure, ask your insurance company to explain.
Medical bills can be confusing. If you get one that doesn’t look right, talk to your doctor’s office or the hospital. Keep your own records of the care you get and what you pay for. If you have to file a claim with your insurance, make sure to follow their steps. This can help avoid delays.