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Published on February 13, 2014

Take Ownership

February 13, 2014

doctorsAs so many changes happen in healthcare, understand your role in your own care is increasingly important.

Empowered patients seek to learn as much as they can about their health and work with medical providers to make informed decisions. As smart consumers of medical services, they make each appointment count.

To take charge of your care:

Come prepared. Bring a list of all prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, and herbal supplements you take. Know your personal and family medical history, and mention any symptoms that concern you right away.

Ask for the information you need. Write down questions before your appointment. If you go to a specialist, consider bringing someone with you to take notes.

Speak up. If something doesn’t feel right to you, remember you are ultimately responsible for your own health. Ask about the possible effects and cost of a new treatment or medication.

Build your knowledge. Attend classes and workshops, especially if your family history increases your risk for a condition. If you conduct research, look at credible sources such as government sites rather than personal experience blogs or advertisements.

Finding Dr. Right

One important way to empower yourself is to schedule annual checkups that help you build a relationship with a primary care physician. A medical professional you see on a regular basis will be better able to recognize symptoms that need follow-up and coordinate any necessary specialized care. Build that trust by communicating clearly and following your doctor’s recommendations when you say you will. 

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