Do you know what's in your medical file? Do you know what is being documented for future reference?
Most of the time whatever is in there is fine. But you should request to see your files to ensure that there isn't misleading information. My personal example is when I was in the hospital in 2010. Not knowing exactly what was causing the excess fluid in my heart area, I was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. As it turned out, it was due to an extreme flare of lupus nephritis. I did speak to the physician to have that diagnosis removed, but it reappeared when information was transferred to my new medical group.
Healthcare has gone through a lot of changes in recent history. More than likely it will change again and again. Ensure your records are accurate to avoid costly errors.
The following article was written by Dr. Wen who incorporates patient involvement in her practice.
Smart Patient Takeaway: This is a great tool for patients who want to be sure their records are accurate, or have interest in seeing what their doctor is recording about them. (Hint – that should be everyone!) In addition, it sets the stage for a good partnership with your doctor.
Be sure you have the information you need to access your records from home, too. Then, each time you have a new appointment, or something changes in your record, log in to see what has been added or amended in your record.
If your doctor doesn’t let you share in the input and review process on your medical records, tell him or her you would like to participate in your record keeping, too.
Additional Idea: Using your smartphone, or a small handheld recorder, record your appointment with your doctor. This will allow you to listen back later to confirm that you remember new instructions and information. Tell your doctor you’ll be recording the session – politely, of course – but don’t ask permission. It is your right to record the session, and it’s a smart tactic, especially when information is easily confused. (Asking for permission provides the opportunity for the doctor to say “no”. Or, as Gramma used to say, “It’s easier to beg forgiveness than ask permission.”)
Telehealth or online health services are already a big part of insurance coverage. It is anticipated that the trend will only grow in the future. It might seem that you might not be getting the best care since you are not face to face with your physician, many simple illnesses can be resolved within a few minutes.
Of course chronic illnesses should be discussed with your physician to see if it is possible to be treated online or not. Be sure to check with your provider. In some cases (like myself) you may have a well established relationship with your provider and you will be able to avail yourself of online services.
The emergence of telehealth is poised to reinvent the healthcare sector. FierceHealthIT reports that telehealth visits can save $100 or more when compared to traditional in-person care. A study by Dale H. Yamamoto of Red Quill Consulting, Inc. found that, “The average telehealth visit ranges from $40-$50, while in-person care can cost as much as $176."
The reduction in cost has widespread effects. The cheaper price combined with increased convenience could lead to far more preventative care, as well as reducing the number of visits for minor illnesses such as sinusitis, flu, or colds. Telemedicine has treated these issues 83% of the time. The potential increase of in-patient efficiency due to online screenings is no small benefit.
The study also asserts that removing restrictions for Medicare reimbursement will lower costs even further. At a 70% reduced cost, even healthcare executives are espousing telemedicine, hopefully indicating decreased restrictions in the near future.
Source: Phillip Vitelli, DO
It's the new year and whether you moved to a new health care plan or not, it's a good time to review your policy. It's possible that there have been changes in coverage and you surely don't want to get stuck with surprise charges.
Asking detailed questions is nothing more than advocating for ourselves. Sometimes you don't like the hassle of having to call but ultimately it IS your responsibility to read through your Summary Plan Description (SPD) and understand your plan.
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