To get quality care, you need to make informed choices about your healthcare and become a better partner with your doctor. You can start by:
- Researching the quality of care that doctors and hospitals provide by using our healthcare compare reports (first will be launched this spring).
- Seeking care as soon as you need it. Delays in getting care can make health problems more serious, more costly and harder to treat.
- Asking questions. It’s your body – you have the right and responsibility to understand your health conditions and treatment choices. Prepare for an appointment by making a list of questions you want to ask, such as: “How is this treatment going to help me? Is there a downside? What could happen if I don’t do this?” If your doctor recommends tests or treatment, ask for the information you need to make an informed decision. For example, you might want to know why a test is needed and how the results will be used. Before your next doctor’s appointment, download a checklist with tips and questions to help you prepare. If you want additional questions, visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ list of questions to ask your doctor.
- Making sure you understand. If doctors use medical terms you don’t know, ask them to explain it in plain language and don’t hesitate to ask for the doctor to write it down . It can be downright dangerous if you and your doctor don’t understand each other.
- Being involved in making decisions that affect your health. Gather information. Watch for changes and side effects from treatment. Share information with your doctor. Make healthy choices. Stay active, maintain a healthy weight, and do your best to eat healthy foods. Get the support you need from friends, family others with your health issue.
Quality healthcare requires a team. Talk to your doctor. Do your research. Become an advocate for your health.