Navigating and understanding our health care system can be challenging.  Here are our solutions to some of the most frustrating healthcare problems our clients face.  

1. How to get in touch with someone at a doctor's office.  Try calling midday. If possible, avoid calling on Mondays and Fridays, when it can be harder to reach someone.  

2. How to remember what the doctor said. There are smartphone apps such as abridge that record your visit and allow you to review and replay the conversation. Not interested in tech solutions? Stick to a pen and paper.

3. How to ensure your doctor understands your comprehensive health situation. A common complaint I hear from patients is that their doctors don’t communicate, and they have to describe the same medical history over and over to each doctor. The solution? Ask them to call your other doctors to discuss your care.

4. How to be sure decisions are being made that you agree with if you are unable to communicate your desires. Consider developing a living will, which documents your wishes for end-of life care. It’s important to do this while you are still healthy. Also consider choosing a healthcare proxy (also known as a medical power of attorney), which names a trusted individual to make healthcare decisions for you in the event that you are unable to speak for yourself.

5. How to know what your health insurance covers. Ask for a copy of the Summary of Benefits and Coverage, and review it. When you call your insurance company, try to get the contact information for a specific person to assist with getting answers when you need them.

6. How to transfer medical records.  Many hospitals have health information or medical records departments. It's often best to contact them directly to obtain your records.  

7. How to understand a medical bill. Ask for an itemized bill which details all of the charges. Compare the bill to your insurance coverage to ensure your plan is covering what it agreed to.

8. How to get the most out of a short doctor’s appointment. The average appointment time is 17 minutes. Write down your questions and concerns prior to the visit, and don’t wait until the end of the visit to bring them up.

9. How to keep your doctor involved in your follow up care. Make notes of what recommendations are and are not working, and bring them to your next visit.

10. How to find accurate health information online. It can be hard to tell apart the truth from misinformation online, and it can be easy to become overwhelmed with information. See our list of reputable websites you can count on for health related information.

Need help with any of these items? Contact Better Health Advisors.