Ask not what healthcare can do for you .. ask what you can do for healthcare. The US healthcare system is in trouble — doctors don’t listen to patients and charge too much, there is an increasing shortage of healthcare providers, waiting lists are longer, hospitals often give patients infections rather than prevent them, insurance companies extract high profit and they pay CEOs millions of dollars without much patient benefit.
Yet in this environment patients ask for more engagement with providers (meaning more face time), ask for more informed choices (meaning more education), ask for lower price insurance (meaning congressional action), and ask for shorter waiting times (meaning expanding the healthcare workforce). ASK…ASK…ASK.
There is no question the US system needs change and there is no question people are not getting the attention they need.
So what can people do? Perhaps you have some answers to the question. Here are a few suggestions:
- volunteer to help others figure out medical bills
- volunteer to help in doctors’ offices pass out educational materials
- be outspoken if healthcare workers fail to use alcohol hand gel before visits
- volunteer to be on quality assurance committees in doctors offices and in hospitals
- volunteer to do Internet searches to find health information for friends and relatives
- volunteer to take people who don’t drive to health care appointments
- don’t go to doctor appointments unprepared — have your records and test results in hand.
- send messages to your congressmen any time you experience long waiting times, high drug costs, complexity of health insurance, or high prices of medical devices. If you don’t get results don’t vote for them again.