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Being an Empowered Patient

Doctors are pretty smart people who generally know what’s best when it comes to your health care and well being. But they are also human, they make mistakes, have biases and don’t know everything there is to know about medicine– the simply can’t. Whether you’re facing a major medical crisis or just want to keep up with the best options in preventative care, sometimes its best to speak up and speak out as a patient. If you’re looking to be a more empowered patient and to take more of an active role in your health care, try out these tips.

Know your rights. Do you know what rights you have as a patient? As as parent or guardian? As a spouse or child? You should. It could save you a lot of grief and heartache during a medical crisis and could go a long away towards improving your care. Remember, you won’t always be told your rights up front, you need to seek them out on your own.

Speak up. If something doesn’t seem right to you, with your body or the care you’re being given by a medical professional, say something. There is no reason to go through unnecessary treatments or ignore problems that bother you because you’re afraid to assert yourself.

Seek out a second opinion. Don’t like what your doctor has to say? Seek out another. Sometimes you’ll get the same answer, sometimes you’ll get a different one. Different doctors know different things, so seek out one that can best treat whatever ails you.

Ask questions, seek answers. Never, ever be afraid to ask questions about any diagnoses, treatments, medications or recommendations given to you by medical professionals. It’s your body and your health and you have a right to know all you can about it.

Don’t worry about pleasing your doctor. Your job as a patient isn’t to please your doctor or to be a “good patient.” Your job is to get the health care you need that will keep you body in good condition. Sometimes you’ll have to ruffle feathers to do that. Don’t be afraid to challenge your doctor or seek out a new one. They’re there to help you, not hinder you.

There is no way you can account for all the variables that go into health care or that go on in the human body. What you can do, however, is seek out the best options possible to keep you healthier and happier longer, speak up for yourself and learn all you can about your body.

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