Everyone talks about how expensive healthcare is, yet few people have started to really look at how it could be cheaper for patients. Many of the costs of healthcare are the result of inefficient practices that arise from a system that has not been focused on patients, and has just assumed that patients will travel from one clinic to the next, from one lab to another, and from home to hospital. Most doctors practices and health systems try and save money for themselves, but not for patients, and often they actually make more money by being inefficient because patients end up having more consultations and repeat tests than are really necessary, and paying for them. There are now many ways that the internet can be used to improve your health, and at the same time to save both time and money, and to therefore ultimately make healthcare cheaper for everyone.
The goal of this book is to describe how you, as a patient, can best use the Internet to improve your own healthcare, and how you can do that by working with your usual doctor, and any of your other healthcare providers.
So what are these four simple steps that I describe. In brief they are:
1. Learn about how to use the internet for your healthcare.
2. Check out your doctor, and any other health providers, to make sure that they are appropriately expert and qualified to provide your care - and that they can do this using the internet
3. Learn to work collaboratively with your doctor using internet based healthcare
4. Check out your current treatment, and compare it with best practices and health guidelines that you can find on the internet. Then consult with your doctor, and discuss any areas where you think improvements can be made.