10 mistakes every patient makes: Trisha Torrey's new book

Most patients don't understand that their own healthcare is not a right, it's a responsibility.  --Trisha Torrey

Trisha Torrey, Every Patient's Advocate for About.com, frequent Health 2.0 contributor, and active Twitter colleague has just written and released You Bet Your Life: The 10 Mistakes Every Patient Makes.
Part consumer guide, part recipe book, part "doctor-patient dating" guide, this book is practical, forward, and detailed in its recommendations to patients like us. The most remarkable aspect of the book is that it takes dozens of complex situations such as patient privacy, patient safety, provider apologies, confirming a diagnosis, to name a few, and breaks them down into usable bites of kitchen table wisdom that can be ported, shared and easily applied. In fact, since reading the book, I have cited dozens of passages in response to questions from friends and family. 

While clever and witty and humorous at times, this is probably not a book that you would hand to a person in crisis who may already be feeling overwhelmed by a complicated situation. No. It is not a book of comfort, per se. But it is an essential book that trains us to make better choices, so it would make an excellent addition to most home libraries. If you have a friend in crisis, why not buy the book for yourself and help your friend navigate the situation with Trisha's insight? There will be plenty to share and your friend may be sparked by some of the advice. 

To showcase just a bit of Trisha's style and convince you to check out the book, below is a paraphrasing of information included in Chapter 6, "An EmPatient's Strategy for Choosing Dr. Right."

Q - How should I establish a doctor's credentials?
Start by looking the doctor up on the state licensing boards. Take a look at the credentials, and make sure that the license is up to date. (One "dirty little secret" of state licensing information is that some states require the practitioner to keep their license up to date themselves, p.70)

If you have a complicated care issue, then check for problems, errors or malpractice by Googling "Dr. Firstname Lastname" plus the word "error" or "complaint" or "malpractice." See what you find.

Also make sure that the doctor is licensed and practicing in the same realm. (She once saw a doctor practicing as a psychiatrist who was not licensed in Psychiatry, but in Internal Medicine!)
Once you have found a provider relationship you like, she offers a few things you might want to do to keep it positive:
  • Say thank you. If you feel well-served then go on and say thank you.
  • Refer your friends to the doctor. 
  • Send a "report card" via http://diagKNOWsis.org/reportcard to highlight the positive or where there is room for improvement.
This review would be remiss without emphasizing that creating health and focusing on prevention of illness is the great-empowered patient stance. Trisha's book does cover this idea at the back of the book, in Chapter 24, "Avoiding the Whole Ugly Healthcare Mess: Prevention." She makes a few quiet points about prevention that deserve amplification:
  • Prevention is about taking responsibility for your own health, no matter how good or bad it is, and taking the steps you can take in spite of health challenges; 
  • Prevention is about following doctors orders once the two of you have determined a course of action;
  • Prevention is about stepping out of a comfort zone, or "happy" zone
  • Prevention is about education. Keep on learning and you'll avoid engaging with less effective treatments.

No comments:

Post a Comment