Wise Health Care Choices  »  Medical Decisions


Watch this short animated video to see what shared medical decision making is all about.

Decisions you make about your health can affect the length and quality of your life. Choose wisely. To do this, you need to gather facts. Use these sources:

  1. You. You know more about you than anyone else. Be in touch with how you feel, physically and emotionally. Keep track of past and present health concerns.

  2. Your doctor. Ask for his or her advice. Your doctor may also have written materials on your condition.

  3. Medical resources. These include:

  4. -The Internet’s world wide web. Look for credible sites, such as www.medlineplus.gov, www.healthfinder.gov, and other Web sites which end in .gov. Other credible sites are ones from hospitals, medical centers, and medical associations. Most often, these sites end in .edu and .org. Web sites for certain health concerns are listed in many topics in Section III of this book. Beware of Web sites that promote health fraud and quackery. Access www.quackwatch.org for information. Also, check with your doctor before you follow advice from a Web site. The advice may not be right for your needs.

  5. -Not-for-profit groups. These include the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, and the American Diabetes Association. To get information, call their toll-free numbers or access their Web sites. These are listed in the topics Cancer, Diabetes, and Heart Disease.

  6. -Government agencies. One is the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). Call 800.575.WELL (575.9355) or access www.nhlbi.nih.gov.

  7. -Support groups for conditions, such as breast cancer. Check local hospitals for lists of support groups near you. Also, contact the American Self-Help Clearinghouse Self-Help Group Sourcebook Online at www.mentalhelp.net/selfhelp.

Your job is to gather facts. Use the Key Questions Checklist and Medical Decision Comparison Chart to help you know what facts to look for. Once you have the facts, you and your doctor can make the medical decision(s) best suited to your needs.