Make your health care decisions results-oriented

Make your health care decisions results-oriented


When is your surgery? Have you seen a specialist? Did your provider explain your options? What rehab facility are you going to?

These questions may sound familiar to anyone dealing with health concerns and choices. With the implementation of enhanced technology, medications and specialties, the medical paradigm has evolved.

Becoming aware of available resources, quality metrics, technology and expertise of our medical community empowers people to make the best decisions.

When determining health-related needs, keep in mind that your goal is to obtain an outcome with positive results.

Here are some suggestions regarding decisions related to health care, treatments and options that lead to those RESULTS:

R: RESEARCH all information relevant to the care required. Review health grades, comments, infection rate and history. Most providers, home health agencies, hospitals and skilled facilities have information documented from prior patients, and a history from origin to present status.

E: EARNED awards and accreditation are important factors to identify providers’ special endorsements, rankings and credentials. Health care providers strive to differentiate themselves and may receive acknowledgment of their services and professional expertise. You can review for comparison data related to hospitals, nursing homes and home health agencies, and to identify location, area of expertise and ratings, if available.

S: SELECT your provider. You have the right to choose your health care providers and venues. Asking for a tour of a facility before selecting an institution is encouraged and allows the opportunity to ask questions and visually evaluate the environment. The final decision should be your own. Input from family and health care professionals can make a difference, too. We advocate for ourselves and those who support us.

U: UNDERSTANDING medicine can be a challenge and stressful. Prepare and bring a list of questions to your appointments. Ask a family member or loved one to attend if possible to assist with listening and interpreting the information. It can be overwhelming to discuss your care, especially if there are changes in your health, and assistance from your support system is encouraged. It is OK to be nervous — you are not alone.

L: LEARNING more about your condition and decisions is integral for staying informed and updated with innovative treatments and plans of care. Be proactive and do not be afraid to ask for help. Be inquisitive.

T: TRUSTING providers overseeing your care is crucial. Communication and collaboration is vital to ensure a comprehensive approach to your care and establishing goals. As we continue on our journey in life, we need to have confidence with our professional team to move ahead.

S: SOLUTION is you. Getting resolutions may be complicated, so stay informed on your medical needs, treatment options and recovery.

If you or someone you know are unable to make health care decisions, legal consultation may be appropriate on a power of attorney and advance directives. Medicare also provides an ombudsman if you need information or have questions; call 800-Medicare (800-633-4227).

TINA McCARTHY, R.N.,B.S.N.,C.P.C., is physician liaison manager at Allied Services Integrated Health System.