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Are You an Empowered Patient...or a Pain in the Neck?


Updated June 13, 2013

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How Do You Know if You're Carrying This Empowered Patient Thing Too Far?
Are You an Empowered Patient...or a Pain in the Neck?
Whether you've been reading me for a few weeks -- or a few years -- you know that I am always encouraging readers to be empowered, informed patients. I believe that we need to appoach medicine as proactive consumers -- not as "patient" patients waiting for good health care to come to us. Medicine today can be a rushed, cookie-cutter, error-prone affair, so we need to be our own advocates -- reading, researching, actively seeking information, asking about options, following up on results, talking about alternatives, and being assertive.

Needless to say, this sometimes makes me unpopular with the more traditional practitioners who believe that "patients should been seen and not heard," or who view themselves in an old-fashioned doctor-on-a-pedestal sort of way!

But can we carry it too far? Instead of an empowered patient, are you actually a pain in the neck? Are you making common mistakes that can sabotage your efforts to get great health care?

Here are some signs to watch for...

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