I recently had the pleasure of reading The Take-Charge Patient: How YOU Can Get the Best Medical Care by Martine Ehrenclou. In The Take-Charge Patient, Martine was able to take her own personal experience and create an informative and creative resource that others can relate to.
Most patients do not participate in their healthcare as efficiently and as effectively as they could. I am referring to the relationship that patients have with their doctors rather than management of their health conditions. You will find that Martine’s book, The Take-Charge Patient, speaks to everyone regardless of whether you are fairly healthy or you live with a chronic condition. It also allows the reader to understand how to get past the frustration of limited answers by taking the time to acknowledge that we are partners in our healthcare with our medical providers.
Martine shares her own personal story, one that started as she did research for her book. She found herself suffering from incapacitating chronic pain and she took her own advice. She writes, “I never expected to live each chapter of this book, but it did prove to me just how invaluable this information is.”
Martine does an amazing job showing the reader how important it is to be a take-charge patient. She goes into specific detail on the why and the how. She starts by sharing her experience of becoming a take-charge patient and then encourages the reader to do the same. Next, she details how patients can make the most of doctor visits and the relationships they can have with their doctors that can lead to a better patient experience. Further, she explains the role that the take-charge patient plays in preventing medication and medical errors. Moreover, she offers information about understanding health insurance, managing serous and chronic illnesses, tests and procedures, types of health facilities, and how patients can allow their experience to go to good use through advocating for others.
At the end of each chapter, Martine provides a patient checklist with bulleted resources and follow-up questions. The checklists allow the reader to go back to each chapter when necessary without having to reread the chapter. They are also questions that patients can ask or prepare responses to prior to an appointment or a meeting with a new doctor. Additionally, they show patients how to keep track of tests, medical procedures, and what conditions have been ruled out.
The Take Charge Patient spells out every part of a patient’s medical journey from the start of symptoms, to testing, to diagnosis and to ongoing care. It is as if Martine is your own personal tour guide throughout your journey. She is there is to offer the encouragement, support, resources and questions that you need to be a take-charge patient.
Being both a patient and a patient advocate, Martine’s book has been a great asset to me. It is a resource that I can reach for again and again. With Martine’s help, I have been able to find some stability when it comes to getting answers, doing research and taking responsibility for my healthcare.
I am recommending The Take-Charge Patient to anyone seeking a medical diagnosis or advocating for a family member or friend. As Martine notes, medical professionals are people just like us and they also have busy lives. It makes their jobs a lot easier when patients are willing to be partners with them and when patients are willing to hold themselves accountable for good health.
Martine Ehrenclou, M.A., is an award-winning author, patient advocate and speaker. Her first book, Critical Conditions: The Essential Hospital Guide to Get Your Loved One out Alive received 15 book awards. Visit her at her websites, http://www.TheTakeChargePatient.com and http://www.CriticalConditions.com