Do this as much as you can; especially for life changing health care. After surviving cancer, this is my number one piece of advice to anyone. It will save your life as it did mine. And I believe this one approach would drastically improve our perception of the quality of our health system. (No, not more money) And this isn’t just my advice, Consumer Reports on Health agrees to (April 2015 issue page 2). CRoH reports that it is “… one of the keys to a safe and comfortable experience.” What is a health advocate? Ideally this person is a good listener and “… has the confidence to raise concerns and the ability to make firm but polite requests.” Since they are not the patient, they may be less affected by emotions that affect our ability to process the information we are told.
Also, make an attempt at asking your doctor and clinic to adopt a patient portal to open up access to your doctors notes. OpenNotes.org, an international movement, has a canned email letter to send them: https://www.opennotes.org/join/. OpenNotes.org is referenced by the Canadian Medical Association Journal: http://www.cmaj.ca/content/186/11/811.
Staying out of the hospital is more important today than ever before. Hospitals are breeding grounds for antibiotic resistant infections; themselves a product of humanity’s overly enthusiastic use of antibiotics. Consumer Reports on Health reports in its February 2015 issue (page 9) that 650,000 patients develop an infection from visiting a hospital. Of that number, 75,000 die as a result. “That’s more than 12 times the number of Ebola deaths worldwide as of December 2014.”
May 11, 2016 Update:
“There are 220,000 cases of hospital-associated infections each year in Canada resulting in 8,000 deaths.” UCalgary Alumni Magazine Spring | Summer 2016, page 9.
The problem is worse in Canada. Adjusted for population, Canada has 3.09 times the number of infections than the USA. Deaths resulting from the infections is approximately the same.
Jan 29, 2018 Update:
“WHO’s first release of surveillance data on antibiotic resistance reveals high levels of resistance to a number of serious bacterial infections in both high- and low-income countries.”
NPR Planet Money explores choosing a university / college major – it’s a more important decision than the school a person attends. Yet the decision is often made at a whim. The dollar impact over a person’s lifetime could be millions. For instance Petroleum engineering has a median income of $120K/yr. Whereas Counselling Psychology median’s is $30K/yr.
Plus – the graph that explains why a person should go to college:
Plus – The most common jobs for the Rich, Middle Class & Poor:
(update 17Jan2020) Podcast episode of Hidden Brain called “You 2.0: Getting Unstuck” offers good advice to help figure out what to do with your life using design thinking/prototypes.
Avocation = the thing you do for love, not money. Many times you need a vocation to pay for the avocation.
“Many of us feel stuck – stuck at work, stuck in the wrong city, stuck in life. When that happens, we often end up asking ourselves, what should I do? Where should I live? What’s my ideal life? It turns out, these normal questions are counterproductive to getting us unstuck. They place an unbearable pressure on us, the pressure to know how things are supposed to turn out.
The next time that happens to you, think of your life the way a designer at a tech company thinks of a new product. You don’t quite know what you want to build. Just for fun, you come up with a prototype, then a second and a third. You pay attention to whether you enjoy building one kind of prototype or another. You listen to feedback from others. You go back to the drawing board and try again. When someone asks you years later how you knew what you wanted to be, you can tell them – honestly, I didn’t.”