Dr. Joy: Becoming an Empowered Patient

By WEEK Reporter

November 2, 2011 Updated Nov 2, 2011 at 9:24 PM CDT

In tonight's "Ask Dr. Joy", Dr. Joy Miller discusses the empowered patient and gives tips to help you become one.

The Federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has recently released a report stating that Americans don't use their time effectively or efficiently with their physicians.

Dr. Joy says the research indicates that patients don't take the time to plan for their appointments, they leave out relevant information, and are fearful of telling their physicians the complete truth.

Also, Dr. Joy says doctors may not be offering enough time to ask their patients questions and rush through appointments.

Dr. Joy suggests:
* Plan ahead: Write out your questions
* Prioritize: Know what you want to ask and make sure that you ask the most important question first, especially if you have very little time speaking with your physician.
* Ask lots of questions: It's okay to advocate for yourself. If you don't, who will?
* Ask about your diagnosis: Don't leave without understanding what you have and what is going to happen related to your treatment.
* Understand instructions: Make sure you are clear about directions related to medications, treatment recommendations, time it might take for healing, side effects and when you should call if you have a concern.
* Ask the tough questions: There are no stupid questions. Be direct and ask the things you really need to know for your own health and well-being.
* Second opinion: Yes, it is okay to ask for a second opinion and seek another opinion or speak to a specialist. Empowered patients are ones who are informed and who speak up to access the best care possible for themselves.

To submit a comment on this article, your email address is required. We respect your privacy and your email will not be visible to others nor will it be added to any email lists.