How do you find the best patient advocate? Healthcare is a complex and confusing system that can be hard to understand. And just what is the healthcare system? It is the hospitals, clinics, doctors, nurses, and other professionals who work together to provide health care services in a given geographical area.
The key players in this system are the patients themselves who, unfortunately, often have little or no say in how their care is delivered because they lack knowledge about their rights or how to navigate the system on their own.
In order to become an advocate for your own healthcare needs, it is important to understand what your rights are within the healthcare system.
It Starts With Prevention
In order to be an advocate for your own health, you need to know what is going on with your body and how it works. This means that you need to be able to identify any changes in your body and learn more about what they mean.
The most common questions people ask their doctor are about diet and exercise. This is because these are the two most important factors in your overall health.
There are some foods that scientists have found to be associated with negative health outcomes, like red meat, food that contains high amounts of sodium and sugar, and processed foods. Therefore, the first thing you can do to advocate for your own health is to replace those foods with more healthy options, like fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grains, fibre, and protein-rich sources like tuna and black beans.
According to the World Health Organization, sedentary lifestyles increase all causes of mortality, double the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and obesity, and increase the risks of colon cancer, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, lipid disorders, depression, and anxiety. It is imperative that every adult get a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day. This can be a brisk walk (2 miles in 30 minutes), or even gardening or washing your car for 30-45 minutes is good exercise.
Understanding Health Insurance
When it comes to health insurance, it can be difficult to understand exactly how your individual plan works. This is because there are so many different plans and choices that it can be hard to know what you have.
In the U.K., you have the option to purchase additional, private insurance besides the coverage all citizens receive from the NHS. Research all the pros and cons to decide if it’s in your best interest before accepting or declining additional coverage.
In the U.S., The Affordable Care Act, signed into law in 2010 by President Obama, created the health insurance marketplace that has been a key part of the U.S. healthcare system since its inception, but again, a thorough study of what’s included is imperative. And make sure your provider knows what kind of coverage you have before you make the appointment to see them.
Keep Track of Your Medical Records
We are all familiar with the importance of having a medical record. It helps you to stay healthy and avoid any kind of mishap. But what if you have no idea where these records are?
Keeping track of your medical records is important for a lot of reasons. It can help you find out about your health history, it can help you know about any allergies that may be present, and it can also prevent identity theft in case someone else gets access to your personal information.
If you don’t have a medical record, then there’s no way for anyone to know whether or not they’re actually receiving the right treatment. You can scan your documents into PDF versions that you keep on your hard drive or in the cloud. You can combine a number of pages and condense into one PDF to make the process more streamlined and accessible.
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Eating better and Exercising are the most important means of advocating for your own health. Then, keeping track of your medical records and understanding your insurance options will help you navigate the complex and often confusing health care system.
- It all starts with Prevention
- Understand your Health Insurance options
- Keep track of all your Medical records
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