Letter: Taking Personal Responsibility
To the Editor:
I want to thank you for your Aug. 4 editorial, “Bottom-Up Medicine; A Push For Self-Managed Care.” It is a very important topic, and, while I don’t agree with all that was said, I certainly agree with the concept.
I have participated in the health care industry for the past 50 years as a nurse. I have managed emergency rooms, been a certified rehabilitation nurse, a visiting nurse and an occupational nurse over those many years.
As the editorial noted, we are too busy to manage one more responsibility in today’s culture. Can we really be too busy to manage our own health? One of the largest problems is noncompliance. Not following through on treatments, diets, medications, etc. costs everyone dollars every day. When individuals practice personal responsibility and follow through on recommendations and treatment orders that they have paid for, they get better. Does it make sense to skip treatments or doses of medication?
We expect instant cures. We make an appointment and are disappointed if a test is not ordered or prescription not written to make us feel better by the next day. Colds and other viral infections or minor aches and pains will usually get better with nothing more than “compound tincture of time,” rest and fluids.
When you get the doctor’s diagnosis, you can have a head start in doing the research. Recently I wrote “golfers elbow” into my search engine, then scrolled down until I found an article from the Mayo Clinic on the subject. The Mayo Clinic and to some extent the Cleveland Clinic have made it easy to learn in a patient-centered way about health issues. The more we understand about what is wrong, the easier it is to comply with treatment.
When there is an incentive to take personal responsibility for our health, costs will go down and patients will get better.