Avera Medical Minute: Becoming a responsible patient

Published: Oct. 13, 2022 at 1:47 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Living a healthy life is different for everyone, but being a responsible patient is something everyone can do. Avera Health’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Kevin Post explained three things we can control.

1) Practice with your patient portal and check it frequently

“We believe our Patient Portal is so important for our patient-centered care team. It really is a nice communication link to keep our patients up to date on what’s going on with their health. When you think of an individual as a patient they are really the most important person on their care team working with their physician, their primary care provider as well as the entire care team of nursing staff to really help guide their care. Using communication tools that the technology allows us really helps people keep up to date on when their appointments are, what their screens are, what their lab values are, and what that means for them and their health. Healthcare here at Avera, we’re really focusing on what is called patient-centered outcomes where we are really trying to do the best for what the patient needs in order to live the life that they consider to be acceptable and what they would like for them and their family.”

2) Trust the right sources for health topics

“What’s always crucial is to go back to your care team, your primary care provider, physician, physician assistant, and nurse practitioner who knows you best. They know your health history, your family’s history, and your medications. They can really give you the best advice that is tailored to have personalized care for you. It gives you the best resources for certain conditions or questions that may arise. Beyond that, I think internet searches are difficult though there is a lot of very valuable information on the internet, [but] a lot of it is very confusing. There are many different opinions out there, so I think going back to those who you trust and those that know you best is always the best route to go.”

3) Getting a second opinion is alright

“Second opinions are done for very valid reasons and for the patient’s benefit. I think most physicians are comfortable with their patients doing that. I think what’s key is having transparency between the patient and the physician in doing so. In the end, it is your health and I think it is important that you feel like an informed decision is being made. For sure if you’re going through something such as major surgery, you want to make sure that even though you may trust your physician want to make sure you’re doing what is the best thing for you. Getting another valid second opinion I think is wise. I think it is good to stay in communication with your primary care team so that you are all on the same page and you can move forward together to make the best decision for you and your health.”