To ensure that you receive the best and even proper medical care, you must know the basics. This book focuses on things that are important when you go to the doctor, and it will help you to obtain the quality medical care you deserve. If you don’t know what you’re supposed to be getting, you might well not be getting it. I have had many people—family, friends, and patients—tell me that their annual checkup was okay. Then, they describe it. Most of them say their doctor did not ask them the usual questions about their health history and did not do a complete physical examination of their body. They are told that they are okay, yet they commonly receive prescriptions and orders for more tests without knowing why. They may be given an appointment to come back, or they may not.
The goal of this book is to inform and educate patients about medical care. The book is written in an order that corresponds with the basic steps of medical care. The medical records kept by your doctor are the cornerstone of keeping track of everything pertaining to your health. This is one reason why patients should also get copies of their medical records from their doctors. In addition, I suggest that patients keep their own medical records in the form of a diary. Chapter 1 discusses keeping a medical diary and obtaining medical records from your doctors. Chapter 2
outlines what a proper physical exam should include. Preventive medicine guidelines are presented in Chapter 3. Chapter 4 discusses medical tests and what they mean. Chapter 5 describes physician specialists and when they may be necessary. The final chapter discusses types of health insurance and the quality of medical care.
It is very important for patients to learn as much as possible about wellness, disease prevention, and disease management for themselves. In our society we are accustomed to taking a doctor’s word on the state of our medical condition and treatment whether or not we understand it and either without asking any questions or without getting adequate answers to the questions we might pose. Today that might not be a healthy situation. It is necessary to be informed to get the most from your health plan and to get the best medical care from the medical resources available in the healthcare system.
By reading this book, you will find out how to take charge of your most important asset — you. This book is written to inform patients about the facts. It is by no means a substitute for your personal physician’s care and advice or for that of
any of your healthcare providers. Instead, it is a supplement. Use it in good health!