Before buying a car, most people do their homework: They start by asking their friends, family and co-workers for recommendations. They check out expert reviews, examine warranties, ask questions of the dealer, and then search for the best value.
Now compare that to the way people typically research their healthcare. They may ask people they trust for recommendations, but most people rarely study doctors or their practices to see how they compare, much less prepare adequately for an appointment.
It’s time we start devoting as much time and attention to our healthcare as we do to our vehicles. After all, cars have to last us five or 10 years – maybe a little more – while our health has to last a lifetime. Even in Indiana, there is good and bad quality healthcare, but the problem is most people don’t understand those differences exist or know what quality of care they are receiving.
Quality care is care that works, care that is safe and care that’s recommended for your condition. It’s tailored for you.
So what is quality care? It is getting the care you need when you need it – no less and no more. Quality care helps people stay well, get better when they are sick, or manage ongoing illnesses. It is the kind of care you want for you and your family.
Most people judge the quality of their care based on their relationship with their doctor. Can they get appointments when they need them? How long do they spend in the waiting room? Does the doctor talk to them and take time to explain what is going on, or does she just give a diagnosis, write a prescription and walk away?
While all of these are important factors, it’s just the first step. Quality care begins with the relationship between patients and their doctors but it’s much more. Quality care is care that works, care that is safe and care that’s recommended for your condition. It’s tailored for you.
This means getting all of the care you need – for example, people with diabetes should receive certain blood tests and exams regularly, and get help managing their blood pressure and cholesterol. But it also means not getting care that you don’t need – for example, unnecessary antibiotics or exposure to dangerous radiation from an imaging scan.