Monitoring your health
In recent years, many in the healthcare field share a common concern. Due to the changing nature of the practice of medicine and the many restrictions placed on physicians by medical insurance companies, doctors are unable to spend as much time with each patient as they’d like. A 2016 study, which included over 19,000 doctors in 26 areas of specialty, concluded that the average amount of time a physician spent with each patient was between 13 and 16 minutes. This is why it’s more important than ever to be your own health advocate.
In order to get the most out of each visit to your physician, make sure that you come prepared. Bring a list of topics you wish to discuss, including notations regarding any health changes you’ve noticed since your last visit. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you don’t understand what the doctor is telling you, ask him or her to clarify. It’s also important to know your rights. Doctors are human beings, and they make mistakes or have differences in opinions. If you don’t agree or are concerned with what you’re being told, don’t hesitate to seek a second opinion.
Arguably the most important part of advocating for your health is making sure you are informed and involved with your own care. One of the best ways to do this is to become educated on any issues you currently have as well as practice good preventative care. At Ivy Health, our goal is to provide the tools you need to do both right from home. We offer medical devices that measure important factors like blood glucose, body composition, and blood pressure, to name a few. How does this help your doctor treat you?
Be part of your own medical team
Say you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure and are trying to manage it through medication or lifestyle changes. Your doctor will take your blood pressure prior to your appointment, but being able to send him or her an entire month’s worth of readings, including different times of day, may provide valuable insight into your condition. Another example would be if you consistently recorded a high percentage of visceral (belly) fat. This information could alert your doctor to potential issues with the organs in your abdomen. Catching disease early promotes the most positive outcome.
The bottom line is that doctors are overworked and short on time, and we cannot afford to be passive when it comes to taking care of ourselves. Remember to be prepared and informed, speak up, monitor and track your progress, and use all the tools you have to monitor your own health.