5 Things Patients Can Do to Get Better Care
Here’s what great health care looks like—and what you can do to get it.
I recently spent several days supporting a client at a world class hospital. While I was there, I paid special attention to the characteristics that demonstrated that the hospital was giving excellent care.
From a patient's perspective, it can be hard to tell the difference between adequate care and great care—but healthcare experts know what to look for. Here's what I saw:
What Great Health Care Looks Like In Action
- Providers with deep and wide clinical competence who are up to date in their area of expertise.
- Providers whose curiosity to understand the root cause of the patient's condition drives them to investigate a range of possibilities.
- Providers who take active steps to prevent patients from getting sick.
- Providers who have a broad network of trusted medical experts and know when to use consultations.
- Providers who are accessible and responsive (answering phone calls and emails) to patients and their families.
- Providers, hospitals, and care environments with access to a vast array of up-to-date resources, supplies, tools, and cutting edge technology.
- Strong communication between providers. The left foot knows what the right foot is doing.
- Effective, efficient teamwork and coordinated care.
- Providers and healthcare leaders who study, create, and write the standards of care, instead of simply following them.
- An empathetic and compassionate care environment.
This is the level of care that every patient deserves. Below, we’ve shared steps you can take to get better care with every provider. If you expect to visit the hospital soon, also check out these tips from hospital insiders.
5 Things Patients Can Do to Get Better Health Care
- Go to doctors and facilities you trust. If you don’t like your current doctor, consider changing providers. Take the time to vet your doctors and check that your medical facilities are accredited. If you don’t feel prepared to do this research, consider working with an experienced health advisor.
- Ask questions during your doctors’ appointments. If you ask a question and don't understand the answer, because the doctor uses medical jargon or the answer is complex, ask for clarification.
- Make sure you understand the next steps. Take notes or record the doctor’s instructions, so that you remember the doctor’s instructions.
- Communicate with your providers and encourage them to communicate with each other. Be sure everyone on your medical team has up-to-date information about your health, including any recent test results.
- Ask for support. Navigating the healthcare system on your own can be intimidating and stressful. You may be anxious about an upcoming doctor’s visit, but even if you’re not, consider asking a family member, close friend, or health advisor to accompany you. Having an advocate there with you will help you get the most out of the appointment.
A Formula for Great Care
Excellent Providers + Excellent Facilities + Expert Health Advisory = Great Care
Getting great care is about more than going to the top doctors and best hospitals. It’s about how an expert health advisor sees the whole picture. At BHA, our team works collaboratively to locate the best options for each patient, preparing the provider before their visit, sitting in on appointments, relaying key medical information between providers, enhancing patient education, and supporting treatment decisions. It’s this combined effort that results in great care.
We provide ongoing guidance to make sure you and your loved ones get great health care every step of the way. If you need assistance selecting the best insurance plan, finding a concierge doctor near you, arranging for mental health treatment, or answering other health-related questions, don’t hesitate to reach out.