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Develop an Ongoing Relationship With Your Physician

What's your doctor's name? Too many Americans can't answer that question because they don't have an ongoing relationship with a Primary Care Physician (PCP). Not knowing your doctor can be bad for your health, and it contributes to the rising cost of health care.

Why? One of the major reasons health care costs are increasing is that millions of Americans each year use emergency rooms for routine medical care instead of visiting their Primary Care Physicians. The average emergency room visit costs $383, while a visit to a physician's office costs only $60.

One of the best ways to reduce health care costs is to know your doctor and make sure he or she knows you. Here are some steps you can take that will help you establish an effective, ongoing relationship with your doctor:

  • Make sure you understand what your doctor is telling you - ask questions, take notes.
  • Let your doctor know about all medications you're taking, even over-the-counter medicines and herbal remedies.
  • Share your medical history and ask about preventive measures you can take to avoid illness or manage diseases.
  • Keep track of your child's immunizations, making sure they are given at the right time, with booster shots given at appropriate intervals.

Poor communication between doctors and patients can result in health care-related errors that can lead to health problems. These preventable errors cost us all nearly $15 billion each year. As modern medicine becomes ever more complicated, having an ongoing relationship with a physician is the best way to make sure you get the care that's right for you and will help keep health care affordable for all of us.