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;