Be Involved in Medicine
Patients who take an active role in their health care wind up with better care, says Ladies' Home Journal. Here are some tips for getting the best care possible:
Get a general practitioner now. Don't wait for a crisis. Word of mouth will help you find the best doctor; checking names with your county medical board will steer you clear of the worst.
Consider candidates' philosophies on such matters as living wills, euthanasia and preventive health measures. And don't discount the power of personality-mutual respect is the cornerstone of an effective doctor/patient relationship.
Get as much information as you can. Don't trust yourself, at a time that's usually stressful, to remember either questions or answers. Make a list of questions beforehand, and take careful notes during your visit. If afterwards you feel something was left unresolved, schedule another appointment just to talk. Become an expert on your illness. Study it and meet with others who have it. Ask your doctor about any new treatments, and don't be afraid about getting a second opinion if you have doubts.
In choosing among specialists, don't make the mistake of equating age with experience. The younger doctor may very well be most up-to-date on current procedures. Choose the treatment and doctor you're most comfortable with.