This is the introduction for a 5 part series, 5 Tips to Be a Better Participant in Your Healthcare.
After finishing rounds at the hospital on a Friday afternoon several weeks ago, I got a call from my brother telling me about an upsetting doctor’s report. An x-ray of his chest raised a concern of an abnormality. He feared the possibilities: cancer, death, and the other unknowns. As his “Dr. Brother,” he asked what should his next steps be. What questions should he ask his doctor? Armed with enough knowledge to initiate and engage in a more robust discussion, he was able to leave his next doctor’s appointment not only with more answers but also with a sense of calm that continued throughout his work-up (which fortunately turned out to be ok).
My goal is that all patients can be more engaged, navigating and participating in their healthcare with awareness and assurance, even without their own “Dr. Brother.”
Going to the doctor can be overwhelming. Besides understanding strange words and complicated explanations, many patients have underlying fears about potential treatments and facing their own mortality. In my world of taking care of patients with colorectal cancer, concerns of patients include if an ostomy will be needed, will they experience hair loss from chemotherapy, or will the cancer be the immediate cause of their death.
Research shows the potential benefits of patient engagement includes increased trust and satisfaction of patients, improved quality of life, reduced patient anxiety, and perhaps better results of given treatments.
In this 5-part series, I will share 5 tips for you to be an engaged member of your treatment team and to ensure your success as the most important player in that team.
So what are these tips?
The full series of articles on 5 Tips to Be a Better Participant in Your Healthcare are below: