An empowered patient is a healthy patient: 4 tips to make health care work for you

An empowered patient is a healthy patient: 4 tips to make health care work for you

(BPT) – While the future of health care is still undetermined, one thing is certain: It’s important for consumers to take steps to educate themselves about their health and well-being and become active participants in their plan of care. However, it can feel overwhelming to a patient to make complicated decisions that can impact their health (and finances) in the short and long term.

Rather than relying on health care providers or insurance companies, patients can take ownership of their own health care management. AAAHC, which works with health care providers to optimize patient safety and quality of care, offers four tips to help you become a more confident, empowered patient:

1. Make the Most of Your (Face) Time

With the advancement of health care technology and digital requirements, many doctors find themselves spending more of their time in front of a computer screen, with one study revealing doctors can spend less than one-third of their time with patients.

Health care professionals are, however, transitioning towards a more patient-centered approach to care that focuses on enhancing the holistic experience and needs of each patient. To make each interaction more meaningful, health care providers should discuss your medical history, lifestyle choices and other behaviors to get a better idea of how to tailor recommendations and treatments that support overall wellness.

"Remember to always be open and honest with your doctor, and come with a list of questions," said Mona Sweeney, RN, of AAAHC Accreditation Services. "Having a list prepared helps you stay focused on getting the information you want, and taking notes will keep new information organized for reference later. If you've received a diagnosis that leads to a discussion of treatment options, it also can be helpful to have someone with you as a second set of ears. It's hard to remember all you've been told if you're under stress."

2. Know Your Risks, Options and Personal Data

Many patients do not realize it is the health care provider's responsibility to disclose important details of any treatment plan -- including potential benefits, risks and alternative options -- and confirm patient understanding prior to moving forward with care. This ensures patients are able to ask questions and make informed decisions. Remember, you are the driver of your care.

Health & Fitness

"Because patient-centered health care providers want patients to play a bigger role in their health and wellness, many are providing access to information and opening up new channels of communication," said Sweeney. "These resources help patients develop stronger relationships with providers and have a better understanding of their care."

One way providers are achieving this is with patient engagement tools, which connect people to their personal health records and educational resources and facilitate communication with health care professionals. Ask about access to wearable health trackers, online patient portals, telemedicine channels and social media apps to learn what is available from your provider.

3. Go Through the Dollars and Cents

Once you are familiar with the medicine side, you can tackle the costs -- which can be tricky. It is well within your rights as a patient to ask for your treatment costs upfront. This will allow you more time to review the price and ask questions before committing to any specific treatment or approach to care, or have a point of reference when reviewing the bill after treatment.

A survey from one payment and claims company, Navicure, found 75 percent of health care providers offer cost estimates upon request, but less than 25 percent of patients request them. You should feel comfortable discussing any concerns, including your bill or the cost of each treatment option, with your provider team.

4. Make Your Voice Heard

Helping patients become more engaged in their health care will benefit both patients and providers. Health care organizations seek feedback from patients to learn how to enhance the patient experience -- which in turn will help them improve the quality of care they deliver.

"Most providers have some formal means of asking for feedback via a survey or customer service portal. Most negative patient experience issues are not the result of poor care, but of poor communications. Be authentic when providing feedback; it's the only way a health care team can know where they need to improve," said Sweeney.

For more information on standards for safety and quality that your health care provider must follow in order to earn accreditation, visit

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* Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy shows how “power posing” — standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident — can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on our chances for success. (Note: Some of the findings presented in this talk have been referenced in an ongoing debate among social scientists about robustness and reproducibility.)

Get subtitles for this talk in English and many other languages at

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Your body language shapes who you are | Amy Cuddy Your body language shapes who you are | Amy Cuddy

16 Responses to “An empowered patient is a healthy patient: 4 tips to make health care work for you”

  1. Aina 777 Reply


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  2. Capt-Morgan Reply

    Man… that was incredible…

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  3. Edna Luneng Reply

    Dear Amy Cuddy. Thanks for this! You are the coolest! These tips are so easy to use. ?

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  4. Al Pal Reply

    I'm not the only person who cried right?

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  5. TheLost Reply

    loved it! <3 that was great!

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  7. Eve Goh Reply

    I almost thought that was Taylor swift

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  8. Navika Malik Reply

    Very inspiring

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  9. Adarsh Mehta Reply

    My friend suggested me this tedEx video for my interview tomorrow and I realised that i actually already apply it.

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  10. JohnnyBravo Reply

    Great talks, well presented. I have become more aware of actually doing dominant poses without intentionally intending to assert a dominant role.

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  11. DrinkMoWater Reply

    Starting my day off right fixing Lil things up … doesanyone need water?

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  12. Bebo Omsairam Reply

    It's one of the best shows of decade

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  13. chelsea Blandford Reply

    What about in cultures that are not individual oriented? Would East Asian cultures still hire high-powered position posers? Would the employer's desires perhaps be more inclined towards the low power position people?

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  14. Nathan Brewer Reply

    The video recorder really needs to pan out…

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  15. ziyad kuwairi Reply

    she just made my day !!!

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  16. 李文琳 Reply


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