Taking Charge of Your Health Care

To make the most of your time with your personal physician it’s important to speak up and ask questions. When you play an active role in your health care, you can improve the quality of the care you and your family get.

Most people depend on different doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and insurance companies for their health care. It’s a team effort, and you are the most important member of the team. You can help take charge of your health care by practicing the following simple steps:

  • Keep track of important health information
  • See a doctor regularly for checkups
  • Be prepared for medical appointments
  • Ask your doctor or nurse questions
  • Maintain good personal records

Keep track and manage your medical history

Managing your health care is easier if you keep all your health information in one place. To start your own personal health record, write down:

  • Your name, birth date, and blood type (ask your doctor if you don’t know)
  • The name and phone number of a friend or relative to call if there’s an emergency
  • Dates and results of checkups and screening tests
  • List of shots (and the dates you got them)
  • Medicines you take, how much you take, and why you take them
  • Telephone numbers and addresses of places you go for health care, including your pharmacy
  • Any health conditions you have, including allergies

The health history of your family is also an important part of your personal health record.  You can use this handy online tool (https://familyhistory.hhs.gov/fhh-web/home.action) to keep track of conditions that run in your family.

It’s important to see a doctor regularly for checkups, even if you’re not sick. Your doctor or nurse can help you stay healthy. Adults typically need a checkup every one to five years, depending on age and overall health. Regular checkups can help the doctor find problems early, when they may be easier to treat.

So, remember to write down your questions ahead of time and take the list with you to your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist. Here’s a tool you can use to help you build your question list: (http://www.ahrq.gov/questionsaretheanswer/questionBuilder.aspx). When you do get to that appointment, remember to talk about any changes since your last visit, like:

  • New medicines you are taking, including over-the-counter medicines, herbs or home remedies, and vitamins
  • Recent illness or surgery
  • Health concerns or issues
  • Health information you’ve found on the Internet or heard from others

Then, follow up after your appointment, schedule follow-up appointments for tests or lab work, if you need to, and call if you have any questions or side effects from medicine. It’s up to you to make the most of your doctor visits, but remembering these tips will help you stay better involved in your health, and help your medical professionals help you!

Be sure to check out the CBIA Healthy Connections wellness program at your company’s next renewal. Employees in this program have access to tools and information that can help improve their overall physical and mental well-being. The program is free to both you and your employees as part of your participation in CBIA Health Connections!