Believe it or not, one of our biggest hurdles in making impactful change is getting people to understand why they should care about their healthcare and about their care process. Realistically, we know what our goals are: save money and get better care. This is the case for both those paying for (employers and individuals) and those receiving (the patients) the care. The issue at hand is this: most people don’t want to engage. And you know what? That’s ok, and it’s not their fault. Healthcare is complicated and, frankly, not designed with the user in mind. And we shouldn’t feel unprepared just because we aren’t a doctor ourselves.
Let’s look at a few things that can happen if you choose not to engage in your care process:
1. Being treated for the wrong illness – believe it or not this happens more than you’d think. Doctor’s use their god given powers of deduction to make their best, most educated guess as to what’s going on with you. Most people have been through the process of going back and forth with their doctors trying to diagnose whether you’ve got a flu or if its something different. Now imagine if you’ve got a more serious condition, say Cancer. Imagine going through treatments just to realize that you’ve got something else…
2. Taking the wrong medication – we all know what kinds of side effects each medication has. If you’ve got a wrong diagnosis, chances are you’re taking medication that is meant to fix something that isn’t wrong with you. This could have serious implications.
3. Having a “never event” – These are defined as “serious medical errors or adverse events that should never happen to a patient. Consequences include both patient harm and increased cost to the institution” and definitely include wrong surgeries. It might seem like a slim chance that this could happen, but a little bit of engagement from the patient’s end can have seriously positive implications.
Why is this all important? For two reasons:
1. It costs money – simply put, the easiest way to reduce medical costs is to get the correct care every time. The more errors, the more money.
2. It hurts – who likes surgery? Heck, who likes the dentist? Nobody wants to go within a mile of a drill or scalpel if they don’t absolutely have to. Getting incorrect care means more procedures, whether they fix you or not.
3. You’re still not getting any better – if you’re getting the wrong care, it means that you’ve been missing out on the correct care
At the end of the day, it’s up to you to make the decision to engage with your doctor. And if you’re responsible for running an effective benefits plan and need somewhere to start, you can check out this link.