As you have surely seen, the growth in Western medicine’s ability to address all issues of human illness has been accompanied by growing disorganization. With every new specialty come new tests, new machinery, new locations, new protocols for treatment and lots of new confusion for patients—and medical providers. As providers struggle to keep up with the changes and provide the best care they can, the one absolute necessity that continues to be overlooked is communication with you—the patient. Most often, someone besides the doctor contacts you and tells you to be at a certain lab or clinic on a certain day at a certain time. The reality is that you are not even a partner in your own health care.
Some Procedures Do Not Require a Doctor’s Oversite
While physicians seem to love to be in charge, their rather controlling attitudes sometimes hinder you from recognizing that, in many cases, you do not need their permission to keep track of your own health. To some extent, the awareness of this possibility probably dates back to the advent of home glucose tests. It was only a short step to testing a multitude of other blood components. Thus, at-home testing labs, such as Tigeni, began to supply all types of patients with a variety of kits to keep track of their physical conditions. Not only did this stop the endless trek to the clinic for tests but it empowered patients to understand and become invested in their own care.
The Marvelous Story a Drop of Blood Can Tell
It is amazing to see the list of at-home procedures becoming available to the average person. If you can check out your DNA to see where your ancestors originated, how much more can you keep track of your current physical condition? Among those things you have the ability to test yourself for are:
- Risk factors for various ailments such as breast cancer, colon cancer and heart disease
- Hypertension, diabetes, some cancers and anemia
- The functioning of your organs, such as heart, thyroid, kidneys and liver
- The current state of your blood chemistry
When the Doctor Discharges You, Take Charge
One of the recent health care revelations that is just now impressing itself on physicians is that aftercare, especially for hospital patients, has really been lacking. For decades, providers lavished care, medicine and insight onto patients in the hospital or under their care in a clinic. When patients were discharged, the attention of the doctor was diverted and patients tended to flounder. A recent article in Forbes describes home self-care as the key to overcoming this gap. As one hospital physician in Boston remarked, “Stabilizing patients’ acute and chronic issues safely and effectively in the home setting just makes good sense and good medicine.” As a patient, when the provider sends you home, your number one job is to continue your recovery and now there are more tools than ever to assist you.
Confidence Comes From Taking Charge of Your Health
One of the most stirring stories about the advantages of patients learning to care for themselves is told in an article by the American Association of Family Physicians. The piece describes a 90-year-old widow with congestive heart who became a “frequent flyer,” constantly going to her doctors’ offices and the emergency room. When this woman was given complete information about her heart and was told she was now in charge of her own care, she became much more relaxed, stopped pestering her providers and reported a great gain in confidence.
Just so, you can take charge of your own health care and find new insight along with greater peace of mind.