Tuesday, June 16, 2009

AHRQ Patient Videos - Become your Own Primary Care Provider

In an interesting use of technology and social media AHRQ (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality) have a series of public service announcements directed at patients encouraging them to ask more questions before during and after your medical appointment and in one case have a song and dance spot (wmv file) encouraging patient participation and asking questions:
DOCTOR (spoken): Any questions?
PATIENT (spoken): No.
DOCTOR: You know...
DOCTOR: (begins singing): We're not magicians, we can't read your mind!
BACKGROUND (singing): Read your mind!
Fun video - important points. Questions are the answer. As the AHRQ group puts it you play a critical role in improving your own healthcare and making wise medical decisions. As I heard recently in one presentation - we all need to become our own Primary Care Provider - managing our own healthcare and understanding the choices available to us. As was pointed out in one of the videos - we spend more time asking questions when we order food or buy a cell phone than we do when we go meet out doctor for a check up or clinical problem. No doubt some of this is time challenges faced in busy clinical practices and a degree of intimidation that persists in relation to patients and their relationship with their clinical provider.

Part of the process must include bringing information to the appointment and referring to it as well as extracting as much information both verbally but more importantly in electronic form from the clinical visit. Asking for a copy of your medical record should be a standard request - over time this may become a more electronic activity and even include requests that ask for the record to be sent digitally to your own Personal Health Record. But for now a paper print out is already an improvement and will allow a better understanding of the appointment. There is no better advocate for a successful outcome that you and your family members and oftentimes more time available for you to focus on doing the research on your own condition and understanding of the choices available if not the personal choice to be made. The AHRQ site gives some guidance on questions to ask here - extensive list and not all questions are necessary for all interactions but a good starting point. It's your health - start taking care of it and participating in the process actively not as passive observer.

Had good or bad experiences share them here - maybe your doctor actually volunteers your record and discussion or maybe your clinical office refuses to provide you with all your records. Whatever your experience I'd love to hear from you.

No comments: