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Vail Daily column: Be proactive in your medical needs

“No one is big enough to be independent of others” is a statement made by Dr. William Worrall Mayo, of the Mayo Clinic. Perhaps it is this philosophy of cooperative, team-based, multi-disciplinary physicians that has made the Mayo Clinic world renowned.

The Mayo Clinic model is so well respected that it has developed an organization called the Mayo Clinic Care Network. The Mayo Clinic Model of Care is “defined by high quality, compassionate medical care delivered in a multispecialty, integrated academic institution.” As a part of it, medical professionals practice medicine as an integrated team focused on the needs of patients.

This philosophy of providing medical care needs to be emulated everywhere. At stake is nothing less than patient safety, quality of care, quality of life and peace of mind.



It has been many years since patients relied on just their family practitioner to manage their complete medical care. While the family practitioner is often the medical provider most familiar with a patient and they frequently have a greater in-depth knowledge of a patients’ overall medical conditions, they are not specialists. They provide medical care for patients of every age, of both genders and often understand the “big picture” of one’s health.

Today’s patients are mobile, and they are frequently cared for by multiple specialists. Gone are the days when one family doctor provided medical care from cradle to grave. In this age of increasing specialization and patient mobility, nobody can afford to go it alone.



TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR CARE

Patients who want to achieve the greatest level of medical care and quality of life must become more involved in their care. They must take charge and lead the way in collaboration among their medical providers.



Our medical providers must assist us and make the time to guide us. This is often quite challenging for many doctors. Often, physicians within a group of medical providers are pressured to maximize patient volume. It is not uncommon for such physicians to see 20 to 30 patients a day. This often means that a physician is time limited to about 15 minutes per patient.

While the limited time physicians have with patients adds a certain level of tension to squeeze what should be a 30 minute or one hour chat into 15 minutes, this does not mean all is for naught.

COME PREPARED

Patients can assist their medical providers by being proactive and efficient with each visit. By writing down questions you may have about your immediate health concerns and/or general health prior to your office visit, you can make an office visit more efficient. As well, consider offering your physician a written list of all the medications you are taking. Keeping your physician up to date with changes in medications will reduce the chance of harmful drug interactions.

Additionally, if your primary care physician is not aware of the medical specialists you may be seeing, provide your primary provider a list of specialists you see. Ask your physician to reach out to each specialist and collaborate about your medical needs. Without communication between physicians, appropriate care for patients cannot be performed.

Each of us has the power to better our care by initiating collaboration among our medical providers. There is a good reason why the Mayo Clinic and others who promote intercommunication provide the highest standards of patient care — it works.

Judson Haims is the owner of Visiting Angels Home Care in Eagle County. For more information, go to http://www.visiting angels.com/comtns or call 970-328-5526.


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