You The Smart Patient is a lighthearted look at some very serious business – your health. Written in conjunction with the oversight group, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, Dr. Michael Roizen and Dr. Mehmet Oz have created an authoritative yet humorous reference guide to understanding and finding your way around the healthcare maze.
Why would two doctors and a watchdog group share “trade” secrets? They believe that being a smart, informed patient is better for everyone- doctors, hospitals, pharmacists, insurance providers – and most of all, you the patient. In fact, they point out that “medical mistakes in U.S. hospitals alone cause an estimated 44,000 to 98,000 fatalities a year.” Reason enough to write the book.
So who are smart patients? According to Roizen and Oz, “They talk and ask questions” and “politely challenge things they don’t understand.” They liken the approach to understanding health care to detectives solving or, better yet, preventing crime. They emphasize throughout that everyone involved – especially you should be playing the role of detective. The same skills used in police work, they say, are the same skills that the best doctors and patients use to diagnose and treat health problems, and to prevent their recurrence. They gather clues, ask questions, read people, and do efficient legwork, with the help of a partner and other colleagues.
The authors offer helpful tips and practical advice on how to choose a qualified team of healthcare professionals to become partners in ensuring your good health. Your entire health teamwhich includes doctors, nurses, specialists, pharmacists, family members, and you works together as savvy detectives charged with interpreting even the tiniest clues to come up with a diagnosis and a treatment plan.
You The Smart Patient starts with a fun, pop quiz to evaluate how smart you already are. From there, chapters cover specific healthcare topics. Each chapter provides information and clear, easy steps to deal with important health matters – from choosing a doctor or getting a second opinion to navigating through treatment options, prescription drugs and insurance claims. It even includes a chapter on understanding some basics regarding alternative and complimentary medicine. All with humor and wit.
There are two chapters on hospitals – how to choose a good one and how to ensure your safety when you’re in one (remember those statistics?). Another chapter is devoted to a discussion of patient’s rights. The doctors point out that these rights are your protection for “when you’re embroiled in the thick of the medical system.” In listing a patient’s right to immediate emergency screening and stabilization, they poke fun at the often, inefficient reality of the system, adding, “Of course, immediate could mean sixteen hours if the ER is really backed up that night”
The chapter on insurance discusses the different types of insurance and how to determine if the plan you have is right for you. Here, they also acknowledge the millions of Americans with little or no health insurance and provide information about resources available to the uninsured or those with low income.
Humorous illustrations by Gary Hallgren are scattered throughout, depicting harrowing health care settings (my favorite: the elderly lady in a waiting room who’s been knitting a scarf for a very long time). These provide comic relief to some critical matters.
Numerous resources to find out more about specific topics are provided throughout. The back of the book is a wealth of more information. It includes a dictionary of medical terminology; an extensive list of resources to find information about doctors, specialists, pharmacists and various accreditation and licensing boards; and sample forms to use for a health profile, living will, power-of-attorney, and Do Not Resuscitate order.
No matter where you are in the mix, navigating through the health care system can be a complicated process. This book helps give power back where it belongs to the patient.
It encourages questioning, investigating and challenging to become informed. Make no mistake while the tone of this book is often irreverent, the message is important: being a smart patient empowers you to receive the best health care possible. This is a must have reference book for every one of us.
An excerpt from an article written by Chip Brown, published in The New York Times, July 30th, 1995:
“At the invitation of Oz and his patient, there were two other people on hand in surgical gowns and masks: a second-year medical student named Sallie Smith, stationed at Donadio’s feet, and a 52-year-old healer named Julie Motz, who was standing at Donadio’s head. As volunteers in Oz’s Cardiac Complementary Care Center, they worked for free through the operation, seldom moving except to reposition their hands. As Oz requested sutures and clamps and units of lidocaine, Motz called softly to Smith to move her hands from the small toe of Donadio’s right foot to a point on the sole known as “the bubbling spring.” What they were doing no one else in the operating room knew how to do, or had ever seen done during a coronary bypass, or had ever thought worth doing, even as an experiment. In this ultimate theater of scientific medicine, the women were using their hands as kings once did to treat subjects with scrofula and as Jesus is said to have done and as shamans and mothers and Chinese qi-gong practitioners still do. They were using their hands to run a kind of energy, which science cannot prove exists, into Donadio’s “kidney meridian,” which also may or may not exist.” > To read more visit www.newyorktimes.com
For more information on Mehmet Oz visit www.doctoroz.com
For more information on Michael Roizen visit www.Real Age.com
Donna Baker Church is a freelance writer and editor. Donna may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.