How to be your best self advocate in this crazy health care system
The current health system that we (still) use today was created in the early 1900s and is based on the premise; keep patients symptom free. The problem with keeping people free of symptoms is that it does not mean we are keeping them free from disease. More often we are just masking the disease with medications and treatments rather than getting to the root cause. Therefore, in this currently broken health care system, we need to think outside the box and treat the causes of the disease, not the symptoms of the disease.
Until the mid-90s the general moto toward health was simple; do what the doctor says. With the help of the internet and sites like WebMD or Dr. Oz, now all we do is question the doctor. This is great because we are becoming empowered and educating ourselves on the body, products we are consuming, what we are exposing ourselves to, and why it all matters.
Patients becoming self-advocates is one of my favorite trends in health. It has been shown that education and self-motivation are the two most important factors in positive health outcomes, besides having a good health care team. Statistically, when you understand the cause and effect of how something works, you’re more likely to take the actions that will create positive outcomes and avoid the habits that are causing you harm. Being a self-advocate and self-educated allows you to ask questions and be part of the team when forming your health plan.
Change is not something that can be forced on you, change needs to come from an inner desire. Sure, gentle pushing from your medical providers is helpful, but you’re the one who is going to be making those everyday decisions towards health or not.
Work with your medical providers and ask them questions. A complaint I hear very often is “my doctor rushed me out the door with a prescription and no instructions.” It’s not that doctors don’t care as much as they used to, it’s the fact the health care system is going through a transition phase. Many doctors and medical providers have to see 30+ patients a day to make their quota and are just doing the best they can with what they have been given. So be patient, but persistent when it comes to having your questions answered. Or better yet, find a provider who can spend the time to get to the root of your disease.