Managing Ourselves, Managing Our Care

Managing our health-care means managing ourselves. Oh great, another thing to manage!?! I for one would just love to have someone else take charge of just one thing in my life so that I didn’t have to think anymore. In fact, that’s what the HMOs and insurance companies ARE doing. Because so many people find the health-care system overwhelming to deal with, the insurance companies and health-care corporations have taken over control of the management of our care. And, sometimes, it works. And, then…it doesn’t.

I’ve written this post, in another form, recently but since that time have discussed it with others and feel like it bears some repeating. Our care has been “taken over” because most of us are too busy to take the time to manage our own care. We defer to those who make the decisions, our employers, insurance companies, doctors…because having to manage “just one more thing” feels too overwhelming.

The concept of personal care management is not new. Within most hospitals, there are case managers who are charged with overseeing and managing the care of patients, ensuring or at least trying to ensure that patients get the care and attention that they need. Much of this pro-active focus is aimed at reducing costs and optimizing the provision of care. What results, more so in the setting of primary care (doctors’ offices) is that health care providers must attend to larger numbers of patients in the least amount of time possible.

The results of having our care managed by hospitals or doctors’ offices, or even by our insurance companies, are that we are less likely to receive all of the care that we need, and are more likely to “fall through the cracks” when it comes to really managing our care.

What can you do, now, to make sure that your care is the best that you can get and all that you deserve?

The first thing to do is to take charge by realizing that you need to become active in your care and in its management.

As consumers of health care, we’ve come to expect that we can stand back and let the providers of our care manage our care. Wrong. We’ve been lead to believe that the companies who do manage our care always have our best interests in mind. Wrong. We’ve bought into the idea that we can treat our bodies in whatever manner we choose and then let the health care system fix it, like a mechanic fixes a care. Wrong.

We need to step up and take charge of our care by taking care of ourselves. That means that when we receive a new prescription from our doctor, nurse practitioner, or physician’s assistant; we ask them about the medication and are familiar enough with our other medications to tell them what we’re taking. It also means that when or if we find that we are taking increasing numbers of medications, we schedule an appointment to meet with our primary care provider to discuss our medications to see whether they are compatible.