You are the centre of your healthcare journey
You are the best person to be in charge of your own health. Taking charge of your health is the first step in making more informed decisions, both on your own and with your health providers about your health and healthcare.
There are many ways you can take charge of your health.
Build a partnership with your GP
In Australia, GPs are often your first contact with health care. They care for you in the whole context of your life, not just your physical health. Building a partnership with your GP is important to make sure you get the best healthcare available.
Ways to build a partnership with your GP include:
- Finding a regular GP, attending regular check-ups and building a relationship with your GP
- Understanding that all GP visits are different and your GP may refer you for more tests and to see a specialist. With some illnesses you may be given a prescription and sometimes you may leave the consultation with just some advice or a suggestion to return at a later time
- Attending and being prepared for your appointment with questions written down if necessary
- Knowing your rights and knowing you can ask for things to be explained differently if you are unsure, and knowing you can speak up if you are unhappy
- Knowing you can ask for a longer consult
For more tips on the importance of having a regular GP, see make the GP part of your family.
Know your medical history
When you see a GP, specialist, allied health professional or pharmacist, or if you go to hospital, you may be asked about your overall health, any previous conditions or operations, any medications you are taking, any allergies to medications or foods you may have, if your immunisations are up to date.
If you have a regular GP going through this history will not be necessary and they will know the tests you have received in the past and any medications you have been prescribed.
My Health Record
You can also sign up for My Health Record, a national digital health record system where all your important health information, such as allergies, medical conditions, tests and treatments is stored in the one place and can accessed by GPs, specialists and hospital, especially important in an emergency.
For more information go to myhealthrecord.gov.au
Being informed about your health will help you to make the right health decisions which will improve your overall health, and allow you to know when and how to access to appropriate care for your needs.
Opinions and information you receive from family and friends can be valuable but a trained health professional is the best person to discuss your health needs. They can do the correct tests and treatments where necessary, or seek additional medical expertise for your condition.
Similarly, using the internet, social media and looking at health books can help you learn many important tips for managing your health and helping you to make better decisions about your care, they are, however, no substitute for seeing a doctor.
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