In this groundbreaking book, author Lorene Burkhart challenges each of us to enter the era of empowered patients by letting go of past practices and embracing outcome-based medical services. Being accountable for one's own body and health is a huge step toward improved medical relationships. She rejects the old authoritarian system of "handing it over" to a doctor as one that is no longer appropriate or wise, and that made its exit when the Internet made its entrance. Using a variety of resources as a guide, Burkhart encourages patients to be their own medical advocates with the ultimate reward being their own good health.
Tips on How to Be An Empowered Patient by Lorene Burkhart
How many of you are sick of your doctors? Sick of the system? And simply sick of health care? Let’s face it, with all of the talk about how to fix the system there’s really only one cure for us, the patient, start acting like a customer. We have choices. Start with these tips.
1) Be Prepared When you have a medical appointment, take with you a clear, concise explanation of what you think are your medicinal issues.
One of the most important things you can do to prepare for an appointment is to take your medical notebook that contains the basics of your medical background—health history, names of your doctors, current prescriptions, recent illnesses/surgeries/illnesses and so on.
It doesn’t have to be fancy—just functional and informative.
2) Speak Up! Doctors are scientists by nature. They want the facts and to draw their conclusion. a) Be clear and concise about your problem – what, how long, medications. b) Don’t tell the doctors what to do – I have a sore throat, so I want an antibiotic. c) Enlist the doctor’s cooperation by explaining that you need their help to know what your next steps should be. d) If the doctor tells you what to do (hands you a prescription), ask what the outcome will be if you don’t take it, what are the side effects, what are the other alternatives and why the dosage.
3) Say Thank You Communicate to your doctor that you appreciate their expertise and are looking forward to working together to resolve your problem. Prepare yourself for the doctor to show total disbelief – they probably don’t get many compliments.
4) Exercise Your Right of Choice Choice in a doctor-patient relationship means choosing to live a healthy lifestyle. We’ve all heard and read about obesity issues in America. Stop and think about what you’re eating and how (or if) you’re exercising. It’s not your doctor’s fault if you develop health issues as a result of not taking care of your body.
That said, choice also means consumer choice. We’ve all had bad and indifferent doctors. So why stay? Choose to find a better professional. You’re the customer!