Getting better health care should be the goal of everyone, regardless of their state of health. The good news is that there are several effective ways to increase the quality of care you receive whether your provider is a New York City physician, San Jose therapist or a Chicago dentist. Experts in medical law say that no matter where you live or what kind of medical professional treats you, you should be proactive when it comes to your health.
What does that mean? Simply that those under the care of doctors, therapists and specialists should ask more questions, seek out second opinions and play a direct role in their own treatment plans. Medical malpractice lawyers and experienced doctors in every major field of medicine agree: there’s a lot you can do to get better care without spending any additional money. Here are three important ways that anyone can play a bigger role in their medical treatment:
Don’t be Afraid to Ask Questions
Doctors and health insurers say that patients are often reluctant to ask questions about things like test results, diagnoses, treatment plans and routine exams for fear that they will look uninformed. In fact, most medical professionals’ welcome questions from patients and are happy to explain details in everyday English. The next time your therapist of physician gives you a treatment plan or suggests that you might be suffering from a particular malady, ask something along the lines of, “How does this plan help deal with my condition?,” or “What are the chances that I’m actually suffering from something else?” When it comes to your health, no question is a bad question.
Spend More Time Choosing Medical Professionals
The Internet is a wonderful resource for beginning the search for a medical professional. The key word is “beginning.” You can do some basic research for therapists and physicians in your neighborhood but that part of the chore is a jumping-off point. Once you have a few names on your list of local providers, do some more searching by calling local clinics for recommendations. It’s also quite helpful to check with your insurance carrier and get a full list of providers on their local list. By working with local clinics, nearby hospitals, insurance providers and any personal networks you have, finding a high-quality health care provider is an achievable goal. Always double-check that the names on your “short list” accept the kind of insurance coverage you have.
Don’t be Reluctant to Get a Second Opinion
If your provider does recommend surgery or a treatment plan, never be afraid to get a second opinion. In many cases, insurance providers cover second opinions. When they don’t, you can simply call another doctor or therapist within the specialty and ask what they charge for a second opinion. Even if you have to spend a couple hundred dollars out of your own pocket, the effort can be well worth the cost. It’s not unusual for second opinions to differ from an original diagnosis. When your well-being is on the line, it helps to be cautious.