What Does Good Healthcare Look Like?
Healthcare that’s personal, specific to your needs, and has your health goals in mind is what we call patient-centered healthcare. It improves your chances of survival. Basically, you want to get the doctor to treat you as if they would treat their own family. Sometimes you have to force them to do it and you’ll see how below.
4 Easy Steps to Getting Better Healthcare
A recent study from Brigham Women’s Hospital looked at ways to improve the healthcare experience of cancer and ICU patients. They used an online tool to improve doctor-patient communication. Here’s what they discovered:
1)Patients Need a Dedicated Person the Doctor Can Call. A “healthcare proxy” is a fancy term for an emergency contact or caregiver. Patients may be in a coma or unresponsive for a variety of reasons (e.g. treatments) and the doctor may need to communicate important medical information that could improve the patient’s long-term survival. Having a caregiver, or point of contact, listed on your emergency contact form is extremely important for getting the best healthcare possible.
2) Patients Need to Clearly State Their Health Goals. When the doctor knew the patient’s daily and long-term health goals while under treatment, the patient’s quality of healthcare improved. By simply stating what YOU want for your health, you set the stage for the doctor to deliver the treatmetn based on your needs.
For example, by stating the goal “I want to be healthy enough to attend my daughter’s graduation in two months,” you set the stage for your healthcare team to work towards delivering that goal and making it happen.
3) Patients Should Ask for Education on their Treatments. In this study, patietns easily accessed medical information on diagnostic tests and treatments. At Bedside Manners we make sure our cancer clients are also well educated on their illness and medications.
4) Patients Need to State their Concerns. When in the hospital or at a doctor’s visit, you do not want to not speak. You need to speak up! Even if you’re fearful, cut through the fear and say what’s on your mind. This does wonders for the quality of the healthcare you receive. You want the doctor to know your personal story. When they know you, they treat you like family.
Hey cancer patients and survivors! Share your personal experiences on how you ensured you got better healthcare.
(Reference: Dalal AK, et al. A web-based, patient-centered toolkit to engage patients and caregivers in the acute care setting: a preliminary evaluation. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2016;23:80)
To your best health!
Dee Grace, PhD
Bedside Manners consists of a scientist, pharmacist, and nutritionist advocating for better healthcare for cancer patients. We focus on 3 things: 1) educating patients on science-backed natural ways to improve their quality of life; 2) empowering patients and survivors with a “survivorship game-plan”; and 3) ensuring patients receive quality healthcare that improves their chances of survival.
Download our mini-guide ‘7 Ways to Conquer and Prevent Cancer’ to get started on the journey.