Decision Points are designed to guide you through key
health decisions, combining medical information with your personal values to make a wise health decision. See a list of:
Throughout your life
you have to make health decisions for yourself and your family. The decisions
you make influence your overall well-being as well as the quality and cost of
your care. In general, people who work with their doctors to make health
decisions are happier with the care they receive and the results they achieve.
It is important to share in every decision about your health.
Good health decisions can help you reduce costs and get better care. A
good decision takes into account:
- The benefits of each option.
risks of each option.
- The costs of each option.
own needs and wants.
Always ask why
Too much care can be just as bad
as-or worse than-too little. Most medicines can have side effects. Medical
tests can give false results that lead to the wrong care. Surgery almost always
has risks. And anytime you get care, there is a chance of error.
When your doctor suggests or orders a medicine, surgery, a test, or any
other kind of care, ask why you need it and what would happen if you waited. If
you don't need it now, you might want to wait.
But also remember
that there can be costs to doing nothing. The "wait and see" option is not
always the best. If you don't get care when you need it and a health problem
gets worse, you may face higher costs than you would have if you had taken care
of the problem sooner.
Asking why can help you and your doctor
make the decision that's right for you.
Know the pros and cons
Every treatment choice has
pros and cons. It's up to you to know what they are. Your doctor can be a big
help here, as can this Web site.
Partner with your doctor to help
you understand what a decision might mean for you now and in the long
Think about your needs and wants
things differently. When you have a health care decision to make, you have to
balance issues like:
- The desire for better health versus the risks
- The certainty of doing something versus the
uncertainty of waiting (the known versus the unknown).
You are the only person who knows what mix is right for
you. You may be willing to pay more if you can get the problem taken care of
quickly. You may be willing to go through a very risky surgery if it could cure
a serious health problem. Or you may be willing to put up with some pain if it
means you can avoid a treatment with bad side effects or high cost.
For many decisions, these issues are just as important as the medical
facts. They are part of what makes a decision right for you. They affect whether you get the care you want at a cost
that seems reasonable to you.