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Your Role as a Patient

There are simple things you can do to improve your experience as a patient. Be involved in your healthcare by:

Asking Questions

  • Why are you ordering this test?
  • Why are you prescribing this medication? What side effects should I know about?
  • What other options are available other than this procedure or surgery
  • How often have you treated my condition?
  • What can I do on my own to improve the outcome?

Speaking Up

  • Be sure the healthcare professional asks your name and birthdate.
  • Write down questions to ask for the next time you visit your doctor
  • Repeat what you heard back to the doctor or nurse, and ask if you got it right.
  • Take notes — or bring someone along to take notes — so you can remember later

Doing Your Homework

Healthcare providers expect and encourage you to research your symptoms online. Try to use it as a way to prepare questions or raise concerns when you meet with your doctor. You also have a right to choose the care that's best for you by learning as much about the doctor or hospital that provide your care.

Accessing your record

Electronic medical records are becoming common. The more you know about what’s in your record — medications, procedures, conditions and more — the better you’ll be able to participate in your care.

Being Truthful

It is your responsibility to give your caregivers an accurate account of your own health history and condition. Sometime it isn't easy for us to own up about bad health habits, like tobacco or alcohol use, but your doctors need all the information. This also includes every medication you take, including over-the-counter drugs, herbal products, vitamins and supplements. Sometimes they can be dangerous when you take them with other medications. If you aren’t consistently taking medication, talk to your doctor about why, including if you can’t afford them.

Following Through

Comply with your treatment plan, including taking all medications in the proper doses and as scheduled. Keep all follow-up appointments and talk to your doctor if you have side effects and need to make adjustments. If you are unable to follow a recommended treatment, tell your doctor so you can work together to find an alternative treatment