Jeff Brady, M.D., M.P.H.
Technology such as telehealth, wearables, and patient portals help patients get more engaged in their healthcare, including helping plan for medical visits.
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is working with Google to pilot a new online tool to help plan for medical visits. The new Google visit planning tool is built on the same evidence behind AHRQ’s QuestionBuilder that allows patients to create and customize questions and decide with whom and how to share them.Because privacy is a priority, the tool does not gather, report, or store personal health information or anything you enter.
The science is clear. Getting the right answers to healthcare questions depends on good, two-way communication. Before any medical visit, patients should be ready to ask questions. Experts recommend making a list of questions in priority order to remember to ask the most important ones first.
In addition, patients should be ready to answer questions from their doctor, with information ready to explain when the issue started and what has happened since. Snap a photo of your insurance card and your pill bottles so you’ll have the details handy. The more information you can share with your doctor, the easier it will be to work together and decide what your next steps should be.
Advances in health information technology can improve care. If you notice your doctor using tech to search for info on her laptop or to talk with a medical specialist, remember that she is using the latest tools to make a more timely, accurate diagnosis and figure out the best treatment options for you.
New technology can be scary, especially when it comes to your healthcare. But with the right tools and a little planning, you’ll have a more efficient visit with your doctor and be more likely to have better health outcomes.