What Can the Patient Do to Improve Their Care and Lower Healthcare Costs?
The National Coordinator for Health Information Technology Farzad Mostashari has said although the nation has made great strides in healthcare IT, technology is not the only element that helps meet the goals of better patient care, improving Americans’ health and lowering healthcare costs. He says “Patients need to care for themselves and become partners in their care.”
Making healthier lifestyle choices such as increasing your exercise and quitting smoking are definitely important, but we can do more to help meet the goals of receiving better care for ourselves and helping to lower overall healthcare costs.
Monitor Your Existing Conditions
If you have been diagnosed with a chronic condition such as diabetes or high blood pressure it’s important to monitor that condition and take medication as directed. There is nothing more important than caring for yourself and taking responsibility for your own health. A chronic condition will not take care of itself and if you do not actively monitor and treat your condition it can lead to further, more serious complications.
Seek Treatment When Needed
It’s understandable that some individuals are hesitant to seek treatment for an illness because of cost or difficulty in finding the proper physician. However, delaying treatment or not seeking treatment at all can risk bigger problems and more significant costs. For example, an upper respiratory infection can lead to bronchitis and if untreated can result in hospital admission due to pneumonia. A quick visit to your primary care physician could save you and the healthcare system thousands of dollars from a preventable hospital visit.
Listen to Your Doctor
When doctors make recommendations on how to treat a condition or how you can improve your health they are doing their part in better patient care. But ignoring a doctor’s suggestions will not help you and could cause more health issues. Doctors are your health partners but they do not bear 100% responsibility of your health. If your doctors tells you to lose weight, purchase a scale and work towards the goal. If your surgeon tells you to rest for 6 weeks after surgery, follow their orders.
Being accountable for your health can not only save you from serious diseases but it can also help save the healthcare systems thousands of dollars in treatments.