What is a smart patient?

Edtrina Moss
Ambulatory Care

An informed patient is one who actively engages in their care. This means that you are prepared with specific and guided questions during your visits that assist the provider in meeting your needs. An informed patient monitors their condition between visits so the provider may have a more well-rounded description of your illness or condition. For example, if you have high blood pressure (hypertension), you would have a written record of blood pressure readings at different times throughout the day to help you and the provider make better decisions about your care.

An informed patient knows their main problem or concern, what specific tasks you need to perform to manage illness or disease, and why doing so is important to you.

Smart patients are those who stay informed on their illness or disease, who understands what they are educated about, who ask questions, who follow suggestion on their care. Smart patients are those who seek out advice from reliable sources, who keep appointment with healthcare providers, who understand that they are the center of care in a healthcare team. Smart patients learn to ask why and if advice isn't followed what happens to me? All patients have the capability of being "smart" patients if they are educated well enough, have a healthcare team who collaborates with them in care, and understands a diagnosis or illness, and assist in management of care.

A smart patient is a questioning patient, an engaged patient.  Someone who wants to partner with her healthcare team to make good decisions about her care and treatment, who is willing to question when she doesn't understand why something has been ordered or prescribed, who tries her best to contribute to her own good health by making better lifestyle decisions.  A smart patient is someone who knows that her body is the only one she's got so she needs to take care of it!

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

A smart patient seeks out relevant information, keeps an open dialogue with their doctor, and does not hesitate to get second opinions. 

Smart patients also possess another crucial trait - they are proactive. They work to pinpoint the best possible treatment options for current afflictions; but additionally, smart patients preserve an open conversation with their doctor to find out what conditions they may be at risk for. There are many things about your health that you cannot control, but everyone can take certain steps to prevent and detect future ailments, especially those you may be at risk for. Creating this individualized strategy isn't just smart - it's genius.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.