Throughout your life you will
have to make health decisions for yourself and your family. The decisions you
make will influence your overall well-being as well as the quality and cost of
your care. People who learn as much as they can about their choices often are
more confident about the decisions they make. And in general, people who work
with their doctors to make health decisions are happier with the care they
receive and the results they achieve.
Why should you partner with
your doctor to make decisions? Aren't you paying him or her to know what to do?
There are often
several approaches to diagnosing and treating a health problem. And it's not always clear what choices are the best ones for you. You are
more likely to feel better about the chosen approach if it is the one best
suited to your needs and values. Sometimes the best choice is to say "no" to
care you don't need.
The best formula for making health decisions
is to combine the most reliable medical facts with your personal values. These
include your beliefs, fears, lifestyle, and experiences, and they all play a
role in helping you make decisions about your health.
Medical Information + Your Information = Wise Health Decisions
following are some simple steps for you to follow when you have a health
decision to make. Depending on the decision, the process may take a few
minutes, a few hours, or several weeks. Take as much time as you need to make
the decision that is right for you.
For more information, see the topic Smart Decisions: Know Your Options.
This Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) website has evidence-based tips on staying healthy, choosing quality care, getting safe care, understanding diseases, comparing medical treatments, and more. AHRQ is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It supports research that will help people make more informed decisions and improve the quality of health care services.
The National Patient Safety Foundation is an organization dedicated
to improving the safety of patients. The foundation works to raise public
awareness about patient safety and is a resource for people and organizations
who are concerned about the safety of patients.
Other Works Consulted
Horowitz JA (2010). The therapeutic relationship. In CL Edelman, CL Mandle, eds., Health Promotion Throughout the Life Span, 7th ed., pp. 91–114. St. Louis: Mosby Elsevier.
February 25, 2013
Catherine D. Serio, PhD - Behavioral Health
& Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
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