Being your own health advocate is fast becoming a necessity. People often report healthcare professionals not taking their concerns seriously enough, or even dismissing them outright. However, by advocating for your own health, you can take responsibility for your well-being, navigate the healthcare system with confidence, and secure the care you deserve. Today, Asbury explains how.
Know your health and family history
Knowing your health is key to preventative care – you can spot problems early and share them with your doctor immediately. Note any symptoms that pop up, write them down, and read up on available information. Understand how your present health conditions, age, fitness levels, race, gender, and other personal factors can influence your well-being. Finally, research your family history to identify risk factors you may have inherited.
Take care of yourself
We all know that diet and exercise can make a big difference in how we feel. Often, though, that’s easier said than done. Don’t get discouraged, though. Even small changes can make a big difference, like fitting in more walking, or trying to improve your diet more gradually.
Keep your own records
Maintaining your own medical records helps you understand your health and health conditions better. Moreover, you can share information easily with your healthcare provider, if you need to, and also prevent duplicate tests. You’ll be able to access essential information whenever you need to.
Prepare for your visit
One of the best ways to advocate for your health is to carefully prepare for upcoming medical visits. This is key to making the most of your time with the doctor. Some ways to prepare are coming up with relevant questions to ask your doctor, noting your symptoms down for easy sharing, bringing along your medical records, and having some-one accompany you.
Make sure you receive good-quality care
You are allowed to evaluate the quality of care you receive. If you’d like additional treatments or be referred to a specialist, be direct (but polite) and ask. If your request isn’t possible, you can ask for an explanation as to why. If you don’t understand what your doctor told you, you can ask them to repeat themselves.
Submit any forms you receive in a timely way
You will be asked to fill out several forms by healthcare providers on a regular basis. It’s important you do this quickly, correctly, and promptly. That way, you’ll be able to get to appointments faster, obtain copies of your records, forward records to healthcare specialists, and generally receive timely care. If necessary, you can use an online conversion tool to take your Word doc and convert to a PDF file in a matter of seconds.
Health advocacy means actively taking charge of your health, asking good questions, partnering up with your doctor, and securing suitable healthcare. Don’t forget to take care of your health with a good self-care plan while you’re at it. Regular exercise, a good diet, and stress-busting are also part of being responsible for your well-being.