How To Be A Savvy Health Care Consumer


Talking with doctor

Instead of “yes, doctor,” ask “why and how?” Start by using these strategies to become a more effective partner in your health care:

-Make time to discuss your health care wishes with your physician or nurse practitioner. Describe the type of partnership most comfortable for you so they know how you prefer to receive information, communicate questions, and made decisions.

-Avoid making health care decisions an issue of “worst case scenario.” Apply your wishes and preferences to all health care encounters, no matter how minor.

-Ask questions about any recommendations made by a health care professional, ensuring you understand goals, benefits and risks.

-Expect respect, patience and dignity in health care, starting with basics like handwashing and courtesy. Unwashed hands and rudeness alike jeopardize health care goals and result in more likely complications.

-Now’s the time to consider completing an advance directive — a living will or durable power of attorney for health care. Look to the National Healthcare Decisions Day website for more information.

-Discuss your desires regarding health, function, and well-being with your health care proxy — the person you’ve named in advance directive to make decisions should you be unable to do so — and others close to you.

-Make certain that the person you want to make decisions if you are unable to do so knows what you want and will advocate for you, regardless of whether you have an