Friday, August 31, 2012

How YOU Can be a Smart Healthcare Consumer

Wise Health Care Consumer

Health care seems more complicated than ever these days.

How do smart consumers navigate the system?

·         Keep your own medical records.   What happens if you need help when traveling?  Make a list of your medications, providers (with phone and fax numbers) and allergies.  If you scan and save reports or test results online, you can then access them remotely while traveling.  Yes, there’s an app for that.

·         Prevent Problems.  Schedule regular checkups, and stay current with immunizations and screenings.

·         Choose Providers Carefullly.  Obtain referrals from trusted friends and professionals, check for board certification and experience.  Get a second opinion when in doubt.

·         Arrive at appointments prepared.  Come early to fill out paperwork, and have your own notepad and questions ready in advance.

·         Be wise with drugs.  Read the labels, take as directed, and be familiar with side effects and possible drug interactions.  Buy generics or purchase by mail when available to save money.  Keep first-aid, anti-itch, pain and cold remedies on hand. 

·         Save the ER for true emergencies.  Call your provider (or self treat) for low grade fevers, minor cuts, rashes and mild sunburns.  CALL 911 or go to the ER for loss of consciousness, uncontrollable bleeding, signs of stroke or heart attack, an allergic reaction with breathing difficulty, or poisoning.