News and Information from the Health and Wellness Division of Blindness Support Services - Riverside, California
Health Care Strategies
How to protect yourself when you go to the doctor:
good information, maximize your 15 minutes and keep your own records.
to the American Society of Internal Medicine, 70 percent of a correct
diagnosis depends solely on what the patient tells the provider. Giving
providers as much information as possible about your health can help them
make faster, more accurate decisions about your condition and treatment.
If providers don't ask, tell them things about
your disability they should know. Give them relevant information about how
your disability affects your health care. (If you prefer that certain
information not go beyond your provider, request that it not be written
down. Once information becomes a part of your medical records, it may
become available to insurance companies and others.)
A provider has limited time. Become an
effective self-reporter. For example:
Maximize your 15 minutes...................................
Richard Frankel found that on average
physicians gave patients only 18 seconds to describe their medical
complaint before interrupting. As a result, doctors heard only some of the
symptoms and may have missed vital clues.
Seventy-five percent of all office visits occur
in under 15 minutes. Here are some strategies to consider in making the
best use of very limited time:
Obtain Copies of Your Medical Records........................
Obtaining and reading your medical records will
help you become a more involved and informed health care consumer, more
attentive to your health and more in control of your own care.
Providers and facilities are permitted to and
often do charge you for copies of your records. The cost to you is well
worth it. If you have had long hospitalizations or are aware that copies
of your medical records could fill volumes, then consider asking only for
Keep complete and thorough records of your
health history, the onset of conditions and/or disability, surgeries, etc.
in your medical records file. Give copies to a new or potentially
uniformed or under-informed provider or present summaries of this
information when visiting new providers.
Organize information by
Gather information on medications, including nutritional supplements, vitamins, herbs and minerals. If you take medication that cannot be interrupted without serious consequences, make sure this is stated clearly and include:
Be aware of your personal baseline for existing
conditions such as headaches, abdominal pain, patterns for bowel and
bladder function and the like. Track changes.
Once you have organized your information,
consider storing a copy with a trusted friend or in a safe deposit box.
Here are some Health Care Resources...........................