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Your Health, Your Choice Series: Evaluating Providers and Understanding Informed Consent

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Take Back Control of
Your Health

In my previous blog I outlined the importance of advocating for ourselves among the complexities of the healthcare industry.

It doesn’t matter if you’re in search of answers from the curative, preventive, rehabilitative, or palliative sectors, or your medical situation requires input from several of those areas of care. One truth remains the same across all: you are in charge of your body.

Evaluate the Relationships You Have with Providers

When evaluating your healthcare providers, the first question to ask yourself is whether the relationship you have with your provider is working for you physically and emotionally, meeting your needs and your expectations. If the doctor comes across as too authoritative and dictatorial, and you don’t feel your concerns are being heard, you have every right to move on.

It is your body, and the provider-patient relationship should be a partnership.

You don’t owe them anything, and you deserve someone who shows empathy and has a pleasing bedside manner. The medical industry is truly a part of the greater customer-service industry, though many providers would disagree with me.

A good provider should ask you about your goals, have you describe what is important to you, and then share what they’ve found during your scans, labs, tests, etc. From there, they should marry your goals and expectations to the clinical information they now have, as is their legal obligation.

Informed Consent and What that Means for You

As you continue evaluating your relationship with the provider, think about how they approach informed consent. Technically speaking, informed consent is a principle in medical ethics and law, which says patients must have sufficient information and understanding before making decisions about their medical care.

What this looks like in real-life terms is that your provider has a legal and ethical obligation to explain medication and procedures in-depth to you prior to accepting them as treatment, and you are also entitled to having adequate time to understand the options and make a decision.

While emergency situations, like car accident injuries or critical life diagnoses, require a different approach, if you are receiving care for a non-emergency issue—even early stages of cancer—you should also never feel pressured to decide in a sped-up timeframe.

Ask for Medical Explanations in Layman’s Terms

A provider who is worthy of your choice should offer you options for your health concern, explain the risks of any associated medication, treatment, or surgery, and do so in plain speak. Medical jargon may be their first language, but it’s not well understood by most patients. They need to feed you information in a way that you understand, and you have every right to ask them to address you with language that is easier to understand.

Remember, you make your healthcare decisions. You can get a second opinion or take the time to weigh the pros and cons of your medical situation and its solution or treatment for a spell of time after the initial diagnosis or recommendation.

You should never be coerced into anything or be pressured into deciding in that instant.

You are in Control of Your Healthcare!

In our next blog, I’ll offer you my three remaining tips to navigate our current medical landscape, and how you can best prepare yourself for your future appointments.

As always, you are in control of your medical decisions! For more information about the many concerns we have as we try mastering menopause, including health and wellness and nutrition, contact us today!


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