When you’re a patient, you are kind of vulnerable. You have a problem, are often sketchy about what it is and the potential treatment or therapy needed. The bigger the problem, the more vulnerable you are. This makes you a perfect advocate.

You need to do your homework and do basic research. Pick a variety of credible sources for this. This research is not to define your treatment. It’s to prepare for your visit so you can ask informed questions and be a participant in the procedure or therapy being selected.  

Speaking of physicians, it’s important to pick the right one. One you can communicate with. One that is in the right discipline. Be honest with the physician and yourself – if you can’t have a candid conversation, ask yourself what’s holding you back.

Find someone you can talk to. You can check a physican’s credibility through publicly available information or ask if friends and family know them and what their experience was. Also, they might be associated with a successful practice (birds of a feather tend to flock together).

Depending on the problem, it’s not uncommon for the main physician – the one calling the shots, to be in a different location or practice or hospital or city than the folks actually providing the services. That’s okay. What you want is the smart one calling the shots on your care.

In the end this is about “you.” Not the doctor or facility – YOU. So, you need to have input into your care and your needs. Your practioners work to facilitate that.

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Jayne Koskinas Ted Giovanis
Foundation for Health and Policy

PO Box 130
Highland, Maryland 20777

Media contact: 202.548.0133