Five Steps to Becoming an Empowered Patient

tgrttygreBecoming an empowered patient can have a dramatic and direct effect on your health. Research has found that those who did patient empowerment programs experienced better outcomes within only a year. In the past, your relationship with your doctor would have been top heavy, with your specialists doling out treatments that you were expected to accept without question. Today’s clinical relationships involve you in your care. Doctors expect you to ask questions, make educated choices, and even disagree with their way of thinking. Two-way relationships are only as productive as both of the people involved, though. Patients must work at their care, but technology makes their role easier to perform.

1) Stop Juggling Your Doctors’ Appointments by Yourself

Having a chronic or longterm illness means juggling everything from doctors’ appointments to laboratory visits. There are optometrist to see and dental problems to solve on top of everything else, so sticky notes or diaries are rarely enough. In an age of automation, you needn’t work so hard at staying on track. SolutionReach has solved the problem. Their appointment reminder software will let you arrange your text reminders according to urgency, but more importantly, it comes with a HIPAA consent tool for keeping all communication involved in your case as private as you want it to be. It also lets patients schedule appointments with a single click. It doesn’t get simpler than that.

2) Keep Your Treatments On Track

Patient empowerment doesn’t replace medical advice. It makes the medical advice you receive from your doctor more effective by helping you to act as a better support structure for it. Even the most effective treatment plan achieves little if you’re missing days, or even weeks of care. It’s not enough to stay on top of your prescriptions, though. Understanding the potential side effects of your medications and which of them requires urgent care will keep you safe. Pharmaceutical reference applications should also spot poorly paired drugs so that problems can be prevented.

3) Understand Your Insurance

Well designed software will let your doctors and insurer connect to all data related to your case so that they can work as a team. The better you understand your health insurance, the more empowered you’ll be. 70% of insurers offer apps to make this process easier, but very few patients use them despite their time saving power. You should be using technology to submit your claims and have all your documents in one easy-to-reach place.

4) Track Your Symptoms

A health diary is a powerful tool that can reinvent your treatment strategy entirely. Your symptoms tracker should let you measure lifestyle factors such as diet, sleep, and work hours as well as medication changes and other modes of care. This way, you and your doctor will be able to pick up obscure patterns that will support your care and even refine your diagnosis. Correlates will emerge that could link mood to relapses. This kind of tool also gives you a systematic way of finding out how well a particular treatment is working for you.

5) Stay Connected Via eHealth

Patient-centered care requires your doctors to know how you’re responding to their treatments. Comprehensive electronic health apps allow you to report back to all your doctors as you progress so that your healthcare team can respond proactively. 70% of doctors are now willing to use these kinds of applications, and the World Health Organization recommends them as an effective way to improve outcomes. Those that empower you will improve your understanding of your care and condition using layman’s terms. The digital health industry is still in its early days, but the power of automation is improving constantly. Important touch points can trigger specific actions to make communication between doctor and patient as intelligent and proactive as possible. Your healthcare no longer needs to feel like a giant weight on your shoulders because technology will do the heavy lifting.

Electronic healthcare is a direct result of changes in the doctor-patient relationship. This, in turn, is a consequence of one simple truth: The more patients know, the better they recover. The more doctors know, the better their care.

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