Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Safety Squad for Health

We visit the doctor seeking health. We may hand ourselves and our condition over, confident that the doctor will make us better. We thus disengage ourselves from the system. We allow the doctor to do their job: assess our symptoms and prescribe a course of action. We respond by filling the script and taking a medication. We then expect results.

In this model, we totally overlook our own responsibility. We too are responsible for our health and safety when seeking medical attention. Medication therapies and other prescriptions for wellness are only as successful as we are at following them with accuracy. Our accuracy is improved with knowledge. If we know 'what', 'why', 'how', we’ll stay safe and see better results.

When we leave the doctor’s office, our health and safety are in our own hands. To ensure our health is improved and safety preserved, we need to be knowledgeable—of our condition and how we can improve it.

How do we education ourselves? Communication is key.

It is imperative: Don't just listen, Understand. A doctor can talk at you—tell you your condition and what therapies or procedures will follow. If you merely listen you won't understand the deeper, more fundamental ‘what’, ‘why’, ‘how’. More complete understanding of your health condition and how the prescribed therapy helps will allow you to follow directions with accuracy, increase the efficiency of therapies, and safely improve your health.

Safety is in your hands. 10% of all hospital admissions are the result of medication errors, and that's just the beginning. The total annual cost of these errors is $250 - $300 B. Furthermore, 25% of all nursing home admissions are the result of these same errors. 

You can avoid error and injury by taking various precautions and minding your own safety.

As a part of National Patient Safety Awareness Week, the National Patient Safety Foundation promoted it Ask Me 3 program, “a patient education program that facilitates engagement through improved communication with providers”.

What is my main problem?
What do I need to do?
Why is it important for me to do this?

If you don't understand, you won't take you therapies or procedures as seriously as you should and you reduce their efficacy. 

Our health is not completely dependent on our doctors and medical technology. Our doctor is only as successful at improving our health as we are at following their instructions and prescriptions. This necessitates dialogue. Don't allow your doctor to merely talk at you. Engage

Ask these three questions, and any others you need in order to understand the path to health. Be knowledgeable. Be safe. 

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