Most people these days understand that healthcare costs are continuing to rise. We are watching healthcare reform efforts fall into place and affect the type of care that we are receiving as patients. It is also affecting what we are providing for you at the hospital – more specifically, how we are providing it.
If you haven’t noticed them yet, you’ll start to see changes soon. Big changes… for better health. We’ll make sure that you stay informed about this, and soon you’ll start to see it everywhere. Communicating what changes we’re making and why that’s important for you is just one part of our commitment to making sure you stay “well and good.”
But in the midst of these changes, do you realize that you actually play a crucial role in your healthcare? That’s one of the big changes that we want you to understand and implement for yourself. In today’s healthcare environment, it’s important to be a smart healthcare consumer. That means becoming more involved in your health, taking responsibility for making wise healthcare decisions, and leading a healthful lifestyle.
Think about some of the ways listed below to be an active and smart healthcare consumer. How can you use these for yourself?
Consider the real cost of healthcare (including how much your employer/organization and/or insurance pays for the medicine, doctor visit, tests, procedures, etc.) when making decisions. It’s easy to forget about all of these factors and only evaluate the amount of a copayment or co-insurance.
Make thoughtful healthcare plan and provider selections. Insurance companies provide a lot of information about what they offer, but it’s often hard to navigate and understand. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of the human resources department at your organization or call the insurance company directly to ask your questions. To find a provider, start by talking with family and friends to see who they recommend or use already. Also, you can check the listings provided online by your insurance company to ensure the provider you pick is within your insurance network.
Practice prevention. To do this, follow and complete what’s recommended for early detection and age-appropriate guidelines.
Live a healthy lifestyle. Participating in activities to maintain or improve health is always smart, and there are so many options! Choices in physical activity, healthy food preparation, and quitting smoking are just a few of them.
Talk with your doctor and share in the decisions made about your health. One way to help improve communication between you and your doctor is to write down a list of questions and bring two copies to your office visit. Give one list to the doctor and use the other list to write down his or her answers. This will help you remember what was said. If you are a caregiver for a sick or elderly loved one, the answers can be shared with other family members who are part of the care giving team.
The list doesn’t stop here, but you get the idea. What is emerging through most of these changes is a renewed emphasis on the patient-provider relationship. You need to know that you have the largest impact on your own healthcare decisions… because ultimately, you make them happen. Know that Logansport Memorial Hospital is also here to help you with them… as a provider and as a health advocate.
Keep your eyes peeled for more from us about big changes for better health. In the meantime, here’s to your health as a smart healthcare consumer!