The American Institute for Preventive Medicine (AIPM) has designated February as Wise Healthcare Consumer Month to encourage people to make smart choices regarding their health and open a dialogue with their doctors.  

According to AIPM, a wise healthcare consumer knows how to: 

  • Choose a healthcare plan;
  • Pick their care providers carefully and thoughtfully;
  • Communicate with their healthcare providers;
  • Ask questions, share concerns and negotiate costs;
  • Analyze and evaluate sources of health information;
  • Practice preventive care;
  • Know when to treat themselves at home;
  • Understand their prescriptions and take them as directed.

The numbers back up those statements.

Physicians Practice magazine, reporting on the findings of a Gallup research and IMI Healthcare for the AARP study, said wise patients/consumers are:

  • 19.2 percent less likely to experience a medical error;
  • 12.8 percent less likely to be readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of discharge;
  • 12.6...