In my last "Share" I told the story of how I came to be a patient advocate and speaker, write The Savvy Patient's Toolkit and start the Savvy Patient School. Today I will share seven of the key insights I've gained through the years since I first began writing the book. Why seven? I don't want to give you too many, because it is my hope that you will take some time to think about each them. I hope they will spur you to think more about the way you think about medical care and how you go about obtaining your personal care. I'd also like to know your experiences and thoughts.
1. We don't know what we don't know and what we don't know can hurt us. I'm talking about what we do on a daily basis as health issues evolve and all of the processes involved as we progress through obtaining care. Most of us realize we need to see a doctor, make an appointment and then go to the appointment with very little if any preparation. We don't have deliberate steps we take from the time we realize we have a problem until we see the doctor nor do we have documentation to help us.
2. We don't understand the importance of documenting details of our health issues as they evolve. Those that do seldom have it organized in a fashion for easy access and helping us over time. We rely on our doctors to document and remember everything and to the next point - our memory.
3. We think we can remember everything about a particular health issue or at least enough to get by, but the details we can't remember may be just the details needed to obtain a timely and accurate diagnosis or better treatment plan.
4. We all think we know how to tell our healthcare providers our stories, but studies show otherwise. We don't provide all of the right information, in the right way, at the right time.
5. We think we need to understand medicine to ask the right questions - absolutely not. Many questions can be asked that will not only help us learn, but help expand our doctors thinking and increase our chances for an accurate diagnosis, the right procedures and the right treatment plan.
6. If blood test results are recorded in the right way we don't have to understand much about the blood tests themselves to track them and know when to ask questions. Sometimes doctors don't recognize patterns or changes in results over time. In my first post I told of my husband's kidney failure diagnosis that occurred partly because the doctor failed to review blood tests results.
7. We don't realize we can play a key role in heading off and preventing medical errors. We also don't recognize when an error has occurred or that we may have create one ourselves.
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