Healthcare Consumer Empowerment

Consumer empowerment, a growing method of healthcare management for employers and healthcare organizations, involves empowering yourselves by learning how to become wiser healthcare consumers.

The following are 10 ways to achieve healthcare consumer empowerment.

1. Establish a relationship with a primary physician — before you need one. Discuss your health and family with your doctor. If you don’t have a primary physician find one.

2. Ask questions. In fact, I think it is a great idea to bring questions with you on a piece of paper, so you do not forget to ask them.

3. Learn about your illness. Research and ask your physician questions. There is a lot of information available to you.

4. Learn how to practice self-care. In times of emergency or injury remember to follow RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation)

5. Review bills carefully. Sometimes errors do happen, if you can’t look after the bills yourself, ask a family or friend to help you. Check them twice later on to make sure you were billed correctly.

6. Check your Provider Directory. It is important to find out if the doctor you are seeing participates in your health insurance plan.

7. Know your prescriptions. It is important to tell your doctor or nurse all of the prescriptions you are taking so that they can know if something else with interact. If you can’t remember, write it down!

8. Carefully read your Certificate of Coverage and Summary of Covered Benefits. Know and understand your healthcare benefits.

9. Use the emergency department for medical emergencies only.

10. Live a healthy lifestyle. Eat a healthy diet; wear your seat belt; perform monthly breast or testicular self-exams; don’t smoke; get 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night; exercise at least three times a week for 20 minutes; and drink in moderation.

Adapted from Health Resources Publishing

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