It’s no secret that the U.S. healthcare system is fragmented. Among 11 high-income countries, the U.S. healthcare system ranks last. This is one of many reasons why it’s important to understand how the healthcare system works, and how you can best navigate it.
You don’t want to wait until there’s a medical emergency to act, as this can lead to overwhelming and stressful situations where you’re left unprepared. Whether you have health insurance or not, it’s essential that you know how to navigate the system to keep your family and yourself healthy and avoid getting lost in the system. Here are 5 tips that will help you navigate the U.S. healthcare system.
1. Keep track of your medical records
You should have all of your medical records in an organized space where they are easily accessible. If you’re the primary caregiver for someone, you should also keep track of their medical records. This includes a list of current medication names and doses, all medical conditions, illnesses, and diseases, doctors and specialists you have seen, as well as previous surgeries and procedures you have had. You can easily keep track of all of your and your family member’s medical records in the Acensa Health app.
2. Record each doctor and specialist visit
Whenever you go to see a new doctor or a specialist, record their name and the type of specialist they are (or the reason for seeing the doctor). After your visit, write down the date of the visit, any new diagnosis you received during the visit, and the management plan you discussed with the doctor. Having this information on hand will help you during future visits with doctors who will want to know about your medical history to be able to help you better. You can keep all of this information all in one place in the Acensa app to stay organized and on top of your doctor visits.
3. Know where the nearest healthcare clinics are
You should always know where the nearest urgent care clinic, ER, walk-in clinic, and pharmacist are to you. Being aware of these clinics and services can help you be better prepared for medical emergencies. Add the name and address of each walk-in clinic, ER, and pharmacist into your app to have them readily available from the convenience of your phone. Don’t wait until you or a family member suffers from a medical emergency – map out where these nearest services are to you to be prepared.
Depending on where you live, some pharmacists are able to prescribe medication for common conditions. By visiting the same pharmacist near your home, you may be able to get prescriptions for common conditions, and your pharmacist will have a solid record of all of your prescriptions.
4. Take preventative measures
Avoid preventable health problems by taking your medications regularly and as prescribed. This can help you stay healthy and avoid trips to the doctor or the hospital. Take care of your health, as well as your family’s health as best as you can to avoid preventable and stressful trips to the doctor’s office.
5. Seek out support
Not only will support groups help you manage difficult health situations, but you can also gain useful insight and information from patients with similar conditions as you or your family member. Online support groups and resource websites like PatientsLikeMe and the Association of Cancer Online Resources are filled with trustworthy resources shared by patients. These platforms are filled with patients who you can discuss your health issues and concerns with and gain support.
Although the U.S. healthcare system is broken, there are ways that you can make navigating the system easier and less stressful. With these tips, you’ll be better prepared to manage your and your family’s health, as well as unpredictable health emergencies.