What You Don't Know Can Hurt You
Posted on Mon, Nov 18, 2013
Health care is complicated and the health care system can be confusing; many people have trouble understanding information about their health and health care options. Health literacy is about reading and understanding.
Unfamiliar words and stressful situations can lead to misunderstanding health care information. If you don’t understand the information, you cannot make choices that are correct for you. For example, how well you understand what your provider is telling you plays a role in how well:
- You are able to take the right medicine at the right time.
- A diabetic properly manages their condition.
- A parent follows instructions for helping a child recover from surgery.
When we are sick or have been told we or our family member has a disease we often don’t fully understand. We can’t act on information about our health care or the health care system, and are more likely to be in poorer health. You may end up in the hospital more often, have fewer preventive services, be less able to manage a chronic condition, and spend more money than you have to.
Doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and hospitals can all play a role in helping patients better understand and use health information. You too, can take steps to improve the outcomes of your health care.
Look at the information on your WINConnect Portal before you go.
Repeat information back to your doctor or nurse.
Bring all your medicines to your next doctor’s visit.
Have another adult with you.
Let the doctor’s office know you need an interpreter if you don’t speak or understand English very well.
If you have questions about your coverage or your network, call your Member Services representatives.
You are ultimately responsible for your own health and the more you understand the better outcomes from your healthcare you will have. What you do know can help you, so, don’t hesitate to ask.