Your New Year Intention: How to be an activated patient in your health care.
Now that the dust has settled after the holidays we are back to school and work, it’s time to sit down and put fingers to the key board.
Note: This is not a blog about how to set an intention for eating less junk foods or exercising and meditating more!
This is about a topic close to my heart. A topic that really a life long intention that can start now, with small steps each day. It’s about putting your health in your own hands.
For those of us that are healthy right now, being activated in our health and health care may not have a real sense of urgency.
Being activated means having the knowledge, skills and confidence to manage your health and health care.
However, fast forward to when life changes and you are no longer a routine patient (for the odd flu shot or prescription), being activated in your health care takes on a whole new meaning. Being an activated patient could be the difference between life and death …literally.
Why is being activated important?
With the increase in aging populations and chronic diseases, the reality of becoming a patient and entering the health care system will be a reality.
You enter one of the most complicated systems in the world — the health care system. Dedicated individuals working in a system that often has a lack of resources, delays in treatments and challenges with communication. As a #patient, if you are not prepared, you can fall through the cracks.
Being an activated patient is beneficial not only to you as an individual, but to the health care system as well. A win-win!
Activated patients have better clinical indicators, better patient experiences, seek preventative care earlier, engage in healthier behaviors, stick to their treatments AND have lower costs e.g. less Emergency Room and hospital visits. Sounds like a good reason to me as to why being activated in your health care is the way to go.
How do you become more activated in your health care?
- Set being ‘activated in your health care’ as a life long intention
- Set a health care goal for your self or a loved one e.g. I would like to get my migraines under control.
- Learn to Track, Educate, Ask and Manage using a T.E.A.M. Approach© to help you become a more #activatedpatient
- Track — Keep records/copies of everything relevant to your patient journey e.g. medical history, symptoms, medications, health records and copies of test results. File it all in one place.
- Educate — Being an informed and educated, but not overwhelmed individual is essential to make informed decisions. It allows you to participate in discussions with your health care partners. Find the best way to become educated using reliable information.
- Ask– Start asking questions such as: Why, What if and How can we do this together? This can be a challenging as it requires courage to ask questions. Asking questions can help open up communication between you and your health care team.
- Manage — Teams become effective with good management and the same is true for health care. Managing helps set objectives for your health care by asking questions such as: What do I want for my health care, from my medical team and from the doctor’s appointment I am about to attend? Setting objectives can also help remove some of the emotional aspects of your condition and help regain control of uncertain situations.
4. Connect, communicate and collaborate with your health care team — it’s a relationship worth investing in.
5. Health care is a participatory sport not a spectator sport — you need to be involved in your health care.
6. Know that you live in your body 24/7 and know it very well, this is your one life — own it!
Let’s build the movement of #activatedpatients. It’s worth it for us and our health care systems!