Step 8: Be responsible – follow the agreed upon treatment and plan.
Again, this may seem very straight-forward, but this little "step" actually gains significant credibility with your providers!
If you are to become truly empowered, then taking responsibility for your own actions - leading all the way to responsibility for your overall health and care - is critical.
Providers see their patients as being extremely vulnerable. These people, their patients, are often interacting with a system that is foreign to them, one that is very complex, and they are trying to navigate through this system at a time when they are probably at their weakest - having just been diagnosed or in the middle of a flare-up of a chronic condition.
Consequently, providers take charge - they feel that they have to in order for the patient's overall health picture to improve! Over the years of practice (and all of their training), it is second nature for a physician or care provider to order tests, drugs - in effect, order you, to take the following path or treatment plan. They do this WITHOUT consultation with you - but not because they are rude, mean or arrogant, but because they feel they have to. All of their training tells them that this is true ... and often the patient population goes about proving it on a daily basis!
Empowerment, then, is not about getting ordered but rather working with the provider to determine what is best. But to do this, you must "undo" all of the years of physician practice where they are usually the only one in charge of making decisions! Consequently, this is not easy.
It can be done - and step eight is a big part of it! Following the agreed treatment plan and providing feedback to your care givers instills a lot of faith and credibility that you are responsible. I know this may sound like we are making something out of a trivial concept, but patients often do things that are against their overall benefit - as stated previously, look at smokers and the problem in our society with obesity! If you are to become empowered, you must work to take back some ownership of your care.
Consequently, part of taking ownership or being "in charge" is about following orders and providing honest and accurate feedback to your physicians and other care givers