Saturday, April 14, 2007

How to Research your Diagnosis :: DiagKNOWsis

How to Research your Diagnosis :: DiagKNOWsis: " Researching your diagnosis and treatment options will empower you in all your medical decision-making. The following approach works well for information gathering.

1. Get Organized
You will need some sort of binder or filing system to keep track of all the information you acquire. One way to keep your findings organized is to use the charts we've developed. Link here to download the chart.
2. Doctors and Medical Professionals
Your physician and other professionals should be your primary source of information, but not your only source of information. Find one who will be willing to partner with you in your search for information. Learn more about working with professionals here.
3. Second Opinions
When your primary doctor suggests that surgery, difficult drugs, or any other difficult treatment is the best option for you, then it's time to get a second opinion. Learn more about second opinions here.
4. Your Medical Records
You have the legal right to acquire all medical records produced on your behalf. Laws vary state-to-state, but in general, you must obtain these records through your primary physician (the person directing your tests and treatment.) Contact your primary physician and ask for copies of all your records: notes, test results, pathology, others.
5. Non-Medical Professionals
There is a large group of other professionals, some health-related, who may be able to help you.
6. The Internet
You'll find a wealth of information on the internet. Not all the information is credible, however, and all your findings should be confirmed with your physician(s). One of the biggest benefits of the internet is that new information can be found everyday. Further, you will find access to others who share your diagnosis, and a way to get updated news every day.
Sometimes the internet will lead you to articles available only to subscribers, often doctors only, and the articles will be very expensive to purchase. Check with your primary physician to see if s/he has a subscription and will be willing to provide you with a copy of the article. Or check with your local library by taking all the publication information you have (title, pub, author, dates, etc.) They may be able to find a branch in their system that can obtain the article you seek at little or no cost.
7. Media, Books and Articles
Your local library, bookstores, newspapers, health channels on TV, and other media may help you find information. News can be emailed to you on a daily basis through Google, Yahoo, MSN and others.
8. Networking
Other people can be a very important source of information. Ask everyone you know if they know others who have the same condition or disease. Ask to be referred, even to people you don't know, if you think they have information that can be beneficial to you. You never know who knows exactly the right person who can help you.

9. Participate in Support Groups
Support groups comprised of other patients who share your diagnosis, and their friends and loved ones, can be a lifeline. Check your phone book, online, local newspapers, and your library to find groups that can help you.
10. Help Others
Nothing reinforces learning like teaching someone else. So it is true with health and knowledge empowerment. By helping others, you will learn to deal better with your own situation. You can start by providing feedback to diagKNOWsis. Your feedback will help others who find this website."

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