Flip No. 6

Taking charge: Ten tips for patients

Make the doctor’s visit work better for you.

By Flip the Clinic

Long gone are the days when the doctor’s word was final. Today to ensure you get the best care from everyone involved, you need to be an active participant in your own health. You already do it at home; it’s time to step up in the doctor’s office as well. Why? Because your health and your pocketbook depend on it.

Patients that aren’t engaged spend 21 percent more in medical costs than patients that advocate for themselves, according to research out of the University of Oregon.

And the World Health Organization reports that patient engagement has been shown to improve health outcomes and overall quality of life for those with chronic conditions.

By making sure your concerns are addressed, asking questions, and getting the information you need to make informed decisions, you can work with your health care provider to find solutions that really work for you. Here are a few simple steps to help you take control of your own health.

Ways to be an empowered patient


  • Susannah Fox

    I would add “find others who share your condition.”

    The most exciting innovation of the connected health era is people talking with each other, sharing information, trading home care tips, etc. The internet widens the network of people we can talk with, increase the velocity of those conversations, inject them with more source material, then archive and make them searchable.

    A Pew Research Center study found that 24% of U.S. adults got information or support from others who have the same health condition the last time they had a significant health issue. And many clinical studies show that people who have a peer group to go to for information or support are more confident in their choices, stick with their treatments, and better manage their symptoms.

  • Jodi Sperber

    I would take all of what Susannah said and go a little broader, shortening her suggested statement to simply “find others.” I wholeheartedly agree that finding a peer group of others sharing a similar condition is valuable, but recognize there are others who have other reasons for caring about a condition (they are a health professional, researcher, caregiver, advocate, etc) and thus can potentially contribute insight, support, and information.

    I believe we are only at the very beginnings of understanding how to shape and integrate informal networks formed via social media channels into our formal healthcare system. An exciting time.

  • http://DaytonReachout.org ssherlock

    F= Find out what is wrong
    L= Learn all you can about your illness
    I = Illicit others for support in decision making
    P= Personalize your care, what matters to you :)

  • jcussi

    Have to agree about a peer group as resources–great listening to their stories and encouragement and feeling empowered to be the best advocate and be engaged in healing, recovering, or just getting through the day with a given condition.

  • JessicaB

    I agree, finding a support group of individuals that share similar health conditions is a great resource in gaining knowledge and insight for decision making. Although, I do feel that it is beneficial to review this information with the health care team to eliminate any misinterpretations prior to making any final decisions. I plan to encourage my patients to utilize the 10 tips discussed in this “flip”, as well as seek support groups.