Saturday, January 25, 2014

How to ensure that you're not last in the medical line

What do you think of queue jumping? In Canada, it's been a divisive issue. Theoretically, with universal healthcare, it shouldn't be a problem. In provinces, such as Alberta, where private clinics take up the time of many staff (see Concierge Healthcare), it is possible. In some ERs the special hockey player, with a fresh, potential concussion, waltzes past those without such notoriety that allows them to jump first in line.

There are things that we must do, as proactive care recipients, who have a right to timely care.
In many media stories, they respond to lobbyists who have jumped on the 'broken healthcare' system bandwagon. I can assure you, from the clients I've worked with, that, for the most part, the system works. That is not to say that incidents happen. They do. No question. I do not minimize these incidents, but they can be prevented by paying attention to your situation, and taking a few precautionary measures.
  1. Write everything down. If you are given a booklet, use it, as it will help you down the road.
  2. Keep an agenda with names, dates, appointments, maps of and to hospitals and take it with you. 
  3. Take someone with you when you go to appointments. 
  4. Write down three questions beforehand. 
  5. Stay on topic. Respect the practitioners time.
  6. After a physician or your NP has spoken to you, regurgitate back what it is you understood. 
  7. Use the Internet wisely, access only reputable Canadian sites. Don't confound your issue with myths. Understand that our Canadian physicians can only use accepted treatments.
  8. If you are referred to a specialist, get their full name. Average wait times in Canada are 17 weeks, depending upon where you live.
  9. Be proactive. If you are anticipating a specialist appointment, phone them if they haven't phoned you. Don't be overlooked.
  10. Understand, that if you choose a specific specialist, you can expect to have a longer wait time than if you took another physician. You can weigh your risk over your request for a specific person.
  11. If your employer is willing, or if you are retired, indicate to Primary Care that in the case of a cancellation, you could be there in a heart beat!
  12. You can shorten wait times by paying big bucks in the US, but ensure that you are making the right decision. Check into follow-up care or emergency care.

No comments: