The Empowered Patient by Elizabeth Cohen

“The Empowered Patient” by CNN Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen is an enlightening book that will assist you with obtaining superior care for you and your loved ones, as well as save you money. Cohen shares her own experiences, as well as those of others, and provides insights on how to get better medical care from your doctor, your insurance, and the medicines you take. This book can make you a better consumer when it comes to your medical care, but I caution you not to become too adversarial. The cover of the book says it focuses on how to get the right diagnosis, buy the cheapest drugs, beat your insurance company, and get the best medical care every time. Who doesn’t want to learn these? Well, this book will set you on the way to being your own advocate when it comes to health care. It’s a good start.
The introduction starts with a personal story from when Cohen was was in the hospital, after giving birth to her third child, who was in the NICU. Any parent reading this will feel for Cohen, and if it doesn’t stir your emotions, you don’t have any or haven’t had children yet. After this experience, Cohen’s goal for writing this book is so you can make sure a hospital doesn’t kill you with a medication error or infection, so you can know if a doctor has misdiagnosed your condition, so you can be sure you have the best doctor, and to get the most out of the short time you have with your doctor. She wrote this book so you can take charge of your own care, to be informed, bot be your own advocate, to be an empowered patient. And I think she did a very good job with it. I also am a strong believer that a person should be actively engaged in their own care, and the more you know the better. This book certainly points you in the right direction.
However, with that said, I do believe portions of the book are more adversarial than they should be. As a mediator and negotiation instructor, I like to look toward the goals of an outcome, which here would be your best health. I think developing a relationship with your doctor, not just a business transaction as suggested in the “How to Be a ‘Bad Patient'” chapter is more beneficial to the ultimate goal.
Regardless, this book contains some valuable information to assist people, and reading it will help you take a more active and responsible role for your health care. Chapters include: How to Be a ‘Bad Patient;’ How to find Dr. Right (and fire Dr. Wrong); Don’t Leave a Doctor’s Appointment Saying ‘Huh?’; How to Avoid a Misdiagnosis; How to Become an Internet MD (Medical Detective); You vs the Insurance Industry; How to Get Good Drugs Cheap; Don’t Fall for Medical Marketing; and Don’t Let a Hospital Kill You.
There are many very good doctors and hospitals in this country, and around the world. I’ve been fortunate to have received some very good care for me and my family at times. However, mistakes are sometimes made, and sometimes money is an influence in particular matters. It really does pay to be your own advocate and be informed. You can then better work with you doctors and health care providers for the best care available. This book is not the be all and end all on the topic, but it does provide the reader with some useful information and if it gets people to take a more active role in their healthcare, it is well worth the price. I recommend reading it, using it, but also working more with healthcare providers for the best care possible.