Fact: communicating with your doctor can make or break your personal health.
A miscommunication can cause serious consequences, and not just with something like a prescription dosage. Doctors often assume their patients understand what they explain during an appointment. But, the reality is that misunderstandings are a lot more common than you might think.
A Serious Doctor/Patient Misunderstanding
A research study performed by Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore looked at mothers and their infants in the neonatal unit. These moms were asked about whether they felt their conversation with the doctor about their child was productive. They were asked to say back what they got out of the conversation.
Even though 92% of these mothers felt that their conversation was productive, over half of them did not believe that their infant was as sick as their doctor made it seem.
Were the mothers being purely optimistic? Or were they genuinely misunderstanding what the doctors were saying?
The research study concluded that patients and doctors can speak seemingly different languages. Patients often use certain terms like “sick” to mean something that you heal from without too much trouble. A sick child has a cold, for example.
Doctors may use sick to describe a serious condition: a “sick” child may be pretty close to death’s doorstep.
Translating “Doctor” to Plain English
How do you figure out exactly what the doctor is saying? What the right questions to ask to avoid big problems down the line?
Here are 6 real-world steps you can take at your next appointment.
- Get Clear on Severity
- Get a Thorough Treatment Description
- Get to Know Your Prognosis (Medical Projections)
- Get Your Medical Terminology Straight
- Get Your Doctor to Listen
- Get Frequent Updates
Follow these tips and you’ll have the edge you need with your doctor and your health. You’ll be better protected against mistakenly believing something dangerous.
Know where you stand and what steps need to be taken. Take a proactive role in your health and your life.
You have probably heard people say “money can’t buy you happiness” and “money can’t buy your health” but are these sayings really true?
Happiness is still up for debate. However, new research shows that the other saying may not be true after all. Is it really possible that money can extend your life?
According to Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, having money (that buys health insurance) matters.
Wealthy Health and Longer Living Go Together
The research team at John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health took a hard look at heart disease patients who had heart attacks, blocked arteries and strokes in Maryland.
Those who were underinsured died on-average sooner than the patients who had private health insurance policies.
The stats are hard to ignore: of the patients studied, those who suffered a heart attack had a 31% higher risk of dying than their privately insured counterparts. Those who suffered from blocked arteries had a 50% higher risk.
While having more health insurance won’t cause you to live longer, it’s definitely the case that if you do have it, then you’re more likely to live longer.
But more than that, the study also found that race is not a factor.
Minority races in poorer cities do indeed have a higher risk of dying early from a heart condition. But, this is more likely due to lack of insurance coverage rather than race.
All Insurance Plans Aren’t Created Equal
Private medical insurance is necessary if you are unemployed or if you have coverage gaps in your employer or government insurance. But, it can be pricey. Middle income or a lower income families, may find it impossible to afford extra coverage.
The underinsured often do not have the same level of care that privately insured individuals have. Here’s why that might be:
- Insurance may not cover the best physician in the specialty.
- The special co-pay may be too expensive.
- Prescription drug coverage may not cover the necessary medications or will cost too much to purchase.
- Insurance may not cover certain procedures necessary to treat the condition.
- Insurance may not cover the full length of treatment necessary to treat the condition.
- Insurance may have a cap on the amount allotted for a certain treatment.
If you can’t afford the treatment that your insurance plan won’t cover, then your prognosis won’t be as good as someone who can afford it.
Although money cannot save you from every condition that you may be stricken with, there is a direct relationship between affording good health insurance and survival rates.
The research findings of this study really bring the ongoing health care reform issues to the forefront. If your life depends on the type of health insurance that you can afford, then you are at a disproportionate advantage if you aren’t wealthy. However, if you are wealthy, in this case money just might be able to save your life.