Are you prepared to navigate healthcare effectively?
by Robin Shapiro
Most of us don’t have any warning for when we or someone we love might become seriously sick or injured, requiring intense navigation of the health care system. And going to the hospital is like being dropped in a foreign land with confusing rules and complicated language.
Not understanding how to navigate effectively can literally cost your life. In fact, preventable medical errors in the hospital is the third leading cause of death n the United States. This does not include errors that do NOT lead to death or errors that are not preventable.
The good news is that there are simple things an ordinary person can do to help keep you safe. Knowledge is power and there are many resources to help anyone think through what we need to know. That is what led me to write the book, “The Secret Language of Healthcare: How to Ask for the Care You Deserve,” which profiles real people’s stories and lessons on 20 compelling healthcare situations anyone should know about.
There is a growing field called ‘Health Advocacy,’ which is devoted to helping patients and their families have more choice and control in medical decision-making. Independent health advocates serve as consultants or advisors to patients and can be hired for specific specialties, like cancer clinical trial placement, hospital discharge, misdiagnosis, or insurance advocacy.
- Must-know checklists for the hospital
- For WA State resources or to find local, independent advocates: Washington State Health Advocacy Association
- National directories for health advocates include: