Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Changes in Who Decides Your Medical Treatment


What my husband and I perceive from recent appointments with several doctors is that doctor's no longer make the decision on what treatment is best for their patient.

Instead, they provide their patient with information and then the patient must choose what he or she wants for their lifestyle.

I liken this new way to handing a person an artist’s palette, some tubes of paint, plus pastel chalks, charcoal, watercolors, brushes, and other artist's tools, and telling the person to create the picture they envision. Or, put a person into a shop full of equipment and tools and tell the person to create what they want!!

It’s true that the good old days recalled by any elderly person, of going to your doctor and having him or her diagnose your illness and provide proper treatment has been replaced. Nowadays, the patient is questioned, is sent for tests, and then the doctor gives a diagnosis based on the tests rather than how the patient feels.
 
This is followed by one or more referrals to specialists ~ who then describe the problem to the patient and offer choices of treatment options  ~ for the patient to decide what is the proper treatment for them so that they will achieve the lifestyle they prefer.

Your doctor’s online Patient Portal may or may not help you with this "NEW" way of doctoring. When we asked if having a Patient Portal was mandatory, the receptionist told us it is not mandatory for a patient to have one, but doctors without a high enough percentage of patients who do have a Patient Portal are fined by the government. Whether or not that’s true, we don’t know.

What is your Patient Portal and is it important?
 
Yes, your Patient Portal is important to you. However, there are many types. Standardization of the technology in the healthcare services industry have been slowed down due to internal factors, such as resistance to changes in medical practice patterns, new costs to train staff and ongoing costs to maintain the validity and relevance of computerized order systems, and concerns revolving around compliance with future medical standards.

Your doctor’s office will help you set up your Patient Portal, which provides you with online access to your medical records. When you’ve mastered setting up the portal, which requires a “Signin” name and a “password”, become acquainted with how to navigate it; how it works, where you find what you want to know, how information is edited, and how to contact your medic.

HealthIT.gov has an excellent download for frequently asked questions (FAQ). Scroll to "FAQs about the Patient Portal (for Patients)" and click the Download. Save it on your computer so you can refer to it when you need answers.

Among other things, Patient Portals basically include:
  •  Appointments, past and upcoming.
  •  Tests and their results
  •  Patient's medical history & patient’s family medical histories
  •  Patients medications, current and past
 
Beware: Unless you’re educated in reading test results yours won’t tell you what you need to know. However, test results can be a real asset for patients who research, and research, and research until they match their symptoms precisely with a disease or disorder.

Online research can lead to organizations and groups that specialize in disorders you’ve never heard of, and therefore, be hugely beneficial ~ if you study them closely.

Nevertheless, many websites you find can also be dangerously misleading and provide false information. Proceed with caution.

Pay heed to these new changes, because whether you like them or not, it is how medical treatment works today, and it behooves the patient to understand them as fully as possible.