Informed patients have better outcomes

Published: Tuesday, March 5, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, March 4, 2013 at 3:11 p.m.

Q: When I had my hip replacement, I found out everything I could about the doctor, the hospital, the implant and the procedure before I had it done. A friend of mine who also got a new hip never even found out what kind of implant she was getting. Now she's having trouble, while I'm back to running around with no problems. Could just knowing what's going on have made the difference for me?

A: Knowledge is power, and when it comes to knowledge about your body and your medical treatments, it's the power to stay healthy! We know that if you're more knowledgeable about procedures before and after surgery, get a second opinion and search for the most competent doctor for any significant treatment or surgery, you'll have better health outcomes.

We realize some people are afraid to hear about surgical details, but it turns out the more informed you are, the more positive your attitude will be. And a positive attitude translates to better healing and rehabilitation. Also, eagerness to know what's happening is a clue that you're good at managing your day-to-day health — and that's been shown to lower health care costs.

As for your friend, we're sorry she is having trouble, but it's never too late to get proactive about wellness. Let her know that she can do a lot to make herself feel better and encourage her to become better informed. Help her write out a list of questions for her surgeon, primary care doctor and physical therapist (she does have one, doesn't she?). Suggest that she go to a reputable website (we like ours: ClevelandClinic.org and NewYorkPresbyterian.org) to find out about hip replacements. She can catch up on all the latest info, and that should make her feel more confident and more engaged the next time she goes in for a checkup or if she needs repair of her previous surgery.

Email your health and wellness questions to Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen at youdocsdaily@ sharecare.com.

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