Navigating the medical maze

Tips on how to reduce your chances of being a victim of medical malpractice

Robin Price
W231- Professional writing

Going to the doctor can be scary. Most people have a fear of doctors. We’ve all heard the stories about patients having the wrong leg amputated, incorrect medication doses being given to patients and numerous other horror stories that resulted in harm to patients or even death of a patient. These examples and many others are results of miscommunication with in the medical field and ultimately A

According to an article on statnews.com written by Melissa Bailey in February 2016. Hospitals and physicians’ offices could have avoided nearly 2000 patient deaths and $1.7 billion in medical malpractice cost if only communication had been better. Here are some tips on how to reduce your chances of becoming a victim of medical malpractice.

  1. Check your Doctors credentials

As a patient or potential patient, you have a right to check your doctor out. When possible before you see your doctor or select a new doctor you can verify their licensing, board certifications, medical school attended, where they did their residency, actions against them like medical malpractice and other disciplinary actions. Federation of state medical boards website you can look up doctors by entering their first and last name and location of practice at docinfo.org.

 

  1. Prepare list of questions to ask your doctor

When we go to the doctor we usually don’t feel well. Sometimes we feel nervous, feel rushed or receive so much information we often forget what we wanted to ask the doctor. By preparing a list of questions before the appointment and bring it along we can review the questions and address your concerns.

 

  1. Bring your medications to your doctor’s appointment

If you are on several medications this is very helpful. Often medications change, dosages change, and frequency taken changes. If can become very hard to remember all the changes, but if you bring the medication, in its original bottle, you will have all this information with you. Enabling you to correctly communicate this important information.

 

  1. Know why you are taking a medication

Many medications can be used to treat several medical issues. It is important to know why you are taking a specific medication. If you see more than a family doctor the other doctor will need to know why you take a medication before they can prescribe additional medications. Some medications will counteract each other.

 

  1. Follow up on medical test completed

Often our doctor visit includes orders for tests such as blood test, x-rays, MRI’s ect. Physicians will usually have these results within a few days. Keep track of what test you completed and when you completed them. If you have not received results from your doctor’s office in about 3-5 days call your doctors office and ask for results. DO NOT ASSUME NO NEWS IS GOOD NEWS.

 

  1. Make a list and put it in your wallet or billfold

We can’t always remember everything, or we may not be able to answer the questions. Be prepared! Make a list of any medications you’re on including the name, dosage and frequency taken. Make a list of any drug allergies you have, be sure to include any egg and nut allergies.  Make a list of all surgeries you have had including the year of surgery. This list will usually fit on a 3” X5” index card. Place this card in your wallet or billfold with your driver’s license or ID card. In the event of an accident, responders will usually check for your drivers license or ID card and will see the list.

 

  1. Know what you are signing

Doctors offices and hospitals usually give you a stack of forms to be filled out and signed before you even see the doctor. Read them, know what they are before you sign them. If you do not understand them ask for an explanation. You have patient rights and they include knowing what you are signing at any time when you are a patient.

 

  1. Ask!! Ask!! Ask!! Ask!!

Take control of your healthcare. Ask questions. Ask what the diagnosis is, what medication is for, what are they treatment options and any other questions you can think of.  Ask the doctor or nursing staff to write down or print out information. Then go home and research, look up the diagnosis and treatment options and make notes. If you have more questions call the doctors office and ask. Asking questions increases communication.

There are many things we, as patients, can do to reduce our chances of becoming victims of medical malpractice. One of the most important things we can do is communicate with your doctor. By asking questions and taking an active role in our personal healthcare we are reinforcing strong communication and improving the quality of care we receive. Use these tips to help you start improving communication with your doctor and aid in reducing your chances of becoming a victim of medical malpractice.

 

Do You Hear What I Hear???

 

woman wearing headphones standing beside man

Photo by Nicholas Githiri on Pexels.com

Listening to me and Hearing me are two different things. How well do you listen? According to PR Daily, less than 2 percent of the country’s population, have had formal education on how to listen. Did that not just blow your mind, because mine is flabbergasted! We communicate everyday with people from around the world, only to realize what we are saying to each other is only being heard, and not comprehended. I have 3 quick points on how we can enhance our communication skills, by simply improving our listening abilities.

  1. Pay Attention
  2. Open Your Mind
  3. Interact

These tips do not have to be completed in order, but you will realize it is much easier to get a better understanding of the conversation if you do. Now to break these tips down into a simpler form.

  • Paying Attention is the key to the conversation. This allows the sender and receiver, the opportunity to feel each other out. It is also needed to retain pertinent information.
  • Open your mind to all ideas, whether you feel like it is good or bad. You never know what someone else can bring to the table, not to mention we all fall short of knowing everything, so always be willing to learn something new.
  • Both the sender and the receiver should interact with each other. By doing this the other knows if the message sent is clear. Interaction could be as simple as eye contact or a nod of the head. The point is you are letting the other know you get it!

I have found in relationships that I have with others in my life, communicating effectively is so important. Not understanding what someone is trying to tell you, after they have said it over and over, and you have heard it over and over, is past frustrating. That is why during the communicating process, we must openly listen to each other and pay attention to the details in the message so that we can respond to it effectively. Considering there are so many cultures that make up our country, some ways of getting a message across will vary. These steps might not work for every situation, but they can assist with the process.

Frame of Reference

How does your frame of reference affect how well you are able to complete the task at hand? This is a question I find myself asking when preparing this blog. There are many times I have overlooked the importance of this. Over the last year I have learned from personal experience on how my frame of reference can affect how I approach problems in the workplace.

The first step to understanding the role of your frame of reference is to know what the frame consists of. This can vary by your location and the activity you are currently participating in. My frame of reference at work focuses on mainly cost and revenue generated. I am also from Generation Z. This has a larger effect on the technological side. I see the advantage of how technology can improve efficiency even if It cost more than standard equipment.

I reflect over the past experiences I had at work while thinking about my frame of reference. Many of these issues could have been resolved earlier if I would have stepped back from the situation to define how I am viewing the issue versus how the other person views the issue. Most business are trying to make as much profit as they can while keeping their customers happy. Working in the quoting department is just that. We try to maximize our profit. While I look at this my customer is trying to minimize their cost. It is best to approach this as if we were a partnership. We both need to agree to the price that satisfies both of us. While this process sounds simple it took us around 2 weeks to accomplish. If we would have started out at the point where we both were transparent with our needs this process could have taken only a few days.

In my short time in business I have found it best to take a few minutes before each meeting and analyze where my customer/coworker is coming from these meetings would have been more productive. We also would have been more efficient which frees us up in order to do other tasks. Going forward I plan on scheduling a few minutes into my calendar in order to my position to that of my opposition.

Fake News

If any of you pay attention to politics in America at all, you have probably heard some mention of it. President Trump is very well known for making the claim “that is fake news” multiple times. But what really is fake news? How can we tell what fake news is? Today, I’m going to help you figure out what fake news is and where to go for unbiased news.

According to Wikipedia, the definition of fake news is “… a type of yellow journalism or propaganda that consists of deliberate misinformation or hoaxes…”. For those of you that don’t know exactly what “yellow journalism” is, it is journalism that has little to no research that uses attention grabbing headlines to sell copies. This means that they may make outrageous claims that may not be true just to sell copies. This is what fake news is.

Spotting fake news and recognizing it is getting more difficult these days. The website IFLA.org gives a very good guide of how we can do this. They say there are eight steps to identifying it. The steps, in no particular order, are to consider the source, check the author, check the date, check your biases, read beyond, see if there are any supporting sources, ask yourself if it could be a joke, and finally, ask an expert. By using these suggestions, you should be able to identify whether what you are seeing or hearing is fake news.

Unfortunately, I’m afraid there is not currently anywhere you can go for unbiased news. I have looked for quite some time for unbiased news, as I would also like to read some news that is unbiased. But after much searching, I’m not sure if there is any news site out there that does not have some bias in it.

By Clark Hauer, Business Major- IUPUC

Why must we listen?

When you were young do you recall your parents telling you to LISTEN?  Perhaps you remember them saying ‘I know you hear me but are you LISTENING to me?’ At the time did you wonder ‘What is the difference?’ Let me try to explain what the difference is and why it is an important life skill.

Hearing is a physical activity that refers to the vibrations your ear receives then turns into sounds. On the other hand, listening is much more involved and can be a physical AND mental activity.

There are also different types of listening. For example, active listening involves not only the physical activity of listening to what is being said but also in watching the body language of the speaker. Effective listening requires focus, and concentration which requires both physical and mental activity. Both types are extremely important in our daily communications.

By being both an active and effective listener you can help in preventing miscommunication, misunderstandings, establish a connection with the speaker, and also improve the interpretation of what is being said.  I am sure we have all experienced a variation of miscommunication or misunderstanding. What if you had a simple misunderstanding while working on project and someone was hurt? Could a  miscommunication from a co-worker lead to clients losing their investment? Would you lose your job? Unfortunately, all of these things can and have happened.

Here are some ways you can improve your listening skills.

Maintain eye contact. By keeping eye contact with the speaker your mind will wander less and the distraction of those around you can be kept to a minimum.

Remain attentive. Once eye contact is established you can remain attentive and you are likely to absorb and retain more information.

Keep an open mind. Save your questions and judgements for the end of the speech simply because they may be answered at the speech progresses.

Listen to the words the speaker is saying and when you hear them in context and it will help in interpretation and limit misunderstandings.

Don’t interrupt. Of course this goes without saying however we often need reminded.

Employers are providing workshops and seminars to their employees simply because of they want to emphasize the importance of listening. Listening is a skill that is not only required but essential for the workplace, relationships, and everyday communication.  How well do you think you listen?

 

 

By Lindsay McIntosh,  Senior at IUPUC