Elisa Shackelton: Top-quality health care begins with you | CraigDailyPress.com

Elisa Shackelton: Top-quality health care begins with you

Elisa Shackelton

— It is extremely exciting to hear that our community will soon be building a new hospital – “kudos” to those individuals who have dedicated many long hours to making this a reality.

But whether we have a new or old hospital, remember that a major element that impacts your health care is you.

There’s only one person out there who can make sure that you get the best medical treatment, and it’s not your doctor, your insurance company or the nurse on call.

It’s you, and that requires that you become a smarter patient and play a larger role in your own health care.

In the book “YOU: The Smart Patient,” Drs. Michael F. Roizen and Mehmet C. Oz and The Joint Commission share information on how to get the best health care possible. The first step is knowing all about yourself and your family’s medical history. Then you can create a “health profile” — a 1-page document you bring to all doctor appointments.

Most people think they communicate with their doctors just fine. Given that most of the communication consists of nodding or a request for antibiotics, there’s little to find fault with.

But in reality, most patients don’t do a great job of communicating with their doctors and commonly give too little pertinent information (At the same time, it’s possible to give too many distracting or off-topic details).

And unfortunately, men are the worst at talking with their doctor and divulging all the things the doctor needs to know.

According to Roizen and Mehmet, “There’s a reason that women aged 30 to 60 are the prime decision makers about health care in the United States. Most of the guys they love either have no clue about their health needs or wouldn’t see a doctor unless they had blood shooting out of both ears.”

Did you know?

The following are some health care suggestions that everyone should consider the next time they interact with the health care system:

Q: What’s the most important thing to bring with you to the doctor’s office?

A: An accurate and complete health profile

Q: Which medical professional should you ask for recommendations for a surgeon?

A: An anesthesiologist. This person sees all of the surgeons in action.

Q: Who is the most accessible and least expensive health care resource?

A: Your pharmacist.

Q: Where should you sit in the ER waiting room?

A: On a plastic chair rather than a cloth chair. Plastic is easier to clean, and in the ER, that matters.

Q: What is the biggest enemy you have in your hospital room?

A: The germs. The best protection against hospital infections is to be obsessive about asking every person who treats you to wash his or her hands.

Q: What is the most germ-ridden object in a hospital room?

A: The TV remote control.

Adapted from “YOU The Smart Patient.” For more information, contact Elisa at the CSU Moffat County Extension Office, 539 Barclay, 824-9180.

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