~ Becoming CEO of the rest of your life

Coping With Our Broken Healthcare System

What’s the MedSmart Healthcare Solution?

healthcare interventions all entail risks of injuryMedSmart Patients is about making better healthcare decisions. But the “Med” in “MedSmart” concerns not just medicine – where it stands for “Minimum Effective Dose” – but a modified “Mediterranean” diet and “Meditative” lifestyle as well.

The companion volumes to MedSmart PatientsMedSmart Living and MedSmart Diet – will include in-depth discussions of these and other lifestyle behaviors that set the stage for your healthcare decisions.

But in real life, it often happens in the reverse order – medical decisions often serve as catalysts for a host of further treatment and lifestyle decisions. Preparing for your healthcare decisions requires doing some homework and evaluating your treatment choices – and realizing there are always treatment choices that should all be considered.

This is how best to avoid the “shock and awe” that often accompanies a fateful diagnosis.

Being well-prepared, in other words, in both your knowledge and your behaviors will prove to be your best defense against medical passivity and victimization.

Doing your homework positions you as a healthcare consumer to “push back” with informed questions that dig deeper into the pros and cons of your medical decisions.

It also allows you some emotional distance from the trauma of a life-threatening diagnosis that enables more clear-headed decision-making.

Healthcare decisions should be dispassionate decisions powered by facts and probabilities, not burdened by exaggerated fears and irrational expectations that distort your thinking and compromise your choices.

Just as informed consumers generally make better customers, informed medical consumers make better patients.

Example: When a car salesman boasts how fast the car he’s selling goes from zero-to-60, smart consumers ask about crash test results, braking distances, and electronic stability control.

They look for the downsides to faster zero-to-60 speeds and satisfy themselves those downsides are addressed. Translated into your healthcare, this would make it a pre-condition to ask about the risks of any drug or treatment you’re prescribed.

It also means understanding that 15% or more of diagnoses – or roughly 1-in-6 – are wrong, making it essential to get a second opinion and possibly a third opinion if the first two are inconclusive. Second opinions should become second nature.

This may mean challenging the diagnosis – not to promote a state of denial, but to rule out factors that could cause a misdiagnosis.

Could your medications, for example, be causing the symptoms you’re experiencing?  Or could it be something in your diet?

These are likely prospects that physicians are known to dismiss or disregard altogether.

Once you’re certain your diagnosis is correct, it means challenging the treatment plan you’re prescribed by your physician(s).

Americans have a strong bias in favor of using every test, procedure, or medication they can lay their hands on in the naïve belief that more is always better. It isn’t.

Our Healthcare Sucks goes into detail about American medicine’s abysmal track record for medical errors and disregard for patient safety.

Simply put, this is no environment for “jumping in with both feet”. With such a high-risk, low-performing industry, “dipping your toe in the water” is the smarter consumer mindset.

None of this is to suggest rude or combative behavior – quite the opposite, as the old adage about “attracting more bees with honey than vinegar” generally applies.

But it does mean learning enough about your medical needs to get only the care you absolutely need – because treatment risks often rival the risks of the disease being treated.

This is why MedSmart patients weigh treatment risks as carefully as disease risks before making major healthcare decisions.   

The above is excerpted from MedSmart Patients – the next eBook in the MedSmart series soon to be published. It is for informational and educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice nor should it be relied upon as such.

Decisions for Medical Treatment – Risks vs. Benefits
As a health and fitness professional certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine with a nutrition science degree from UC Davis, I would like to …

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