In an ideal world, going to the doctor should be a self care event, equivalent to visiting your massage therapist, or going to your weekly yoga class. While we never give a second thought to anyone getting a massage, or attending a yoga class, there is a heightened sense of awareness when someone mentions a doctors appointment — an event that often indicates that all may not be well.
This bias is definitely not unfounded, it has been deeply ingrained in our society through years of practice — where we only visited the doctor’s office to get a diagnosis and treatment for our symptoms, and while annual check-ups are becoming the norm, it is not easy to dispel of old notions. After all, disease has always been the most common cause of human death — so it is to be expected that we would perceive the messenger of such news to be just as fearsome as the news itself.
What this bias also highlights is our discomfort with the lack of control we have in our health journey — the lack of control we feel once we fall sick, and the perceived inability to do anything about a potential dismal prognosis. Unfortunately by the time we diagnose illness today, it is often at a stage where reactive treatment is necessary and medical professionals are needed to describe next steps. Prescriptions, lab tests, and hard to read reports all describe our current customer experience as a recipient of healthcare.
Imagine a world where you were able to control the course of your health journey, where you could initiate informed conversation on prevention, and where preventative care could add not just years of life, but quality years of life. Imagine a world where your doctor was a partner and advisor in collaborating on your health journey?
If nurturing our physical and mental health are critical to preserving our quality of life, and if our doctor is the most trusted advisor we have on these matters, why have we chosen to take a passive role in contributing openly to these doctor-patient conversations?
After all, we don’t seem to shy away from telling our hairdresser, who we entrust with our hair, what look we are going for. Or speaking with our financial advisors, who we entrust with our money, what our financial goals are. Yet it seems that we are not as direct or open in our conversations with our doctors. We shy away from sharing with them our health aspirations and quality of life goals, and it is rare we tell them what we would like our health journey to look like.
So how do we get started with changing the course of our doctor-patient conversations? Here are a couple of suggestions:
1. Start from a position of knowledge — If knowledge is power, then educating yourself on prevention is the best way to empower yourself to direct the conversation of your health journey. Our quest to becoming our healthiest selves often starts with adopting a health conscious lifestyle. Educating ourselves on what it means to live a health conscious life, and putting that knowledge into action are first steps in making sure we are able to engage in meaningful conversation on preventative care with our doctor.
2. Get smart about detection — We believe that prevention starts with you, and innovation in preventative healthcare is evolving to enable the patient to easily self-test for many chronic illnesses. With home based testing only a click away, we are now empowered to play an active role in detection, and as a result, able to take more of a driver’s seat in our health conversation. Proactive detection has the potential to alter the course of disease before disease alters the course of your life, making home-based testing one of the most revolutionary innovations of our time.
3. Initiate honest and open conversation with your doctor — Discussing your health goals, aspirations and fears needs to become a regular part of your doctor’s visit repertoire. Often when speaking with experts, we may lack the confidence to initiate these discussions for fear of sounding uninformed. However, being armed with knowledge and validated by credible testing can put you in an informed position to speak with doctors about your health goals. When you are empowered in the conversation, experts in medicine can become valued advisors and can help develop an action plan based on your lifestyle and test results, and monitor progress to it.
It is time to start taking accountability for our health.
With our access to knowledge on prevention, and access to home-based testing for awareness, there has never been a better time to initiate conversations at a deeper level with our doctors and collaborate on crafting our preventative health journey. It is time we realized that we are responsible for the consequences of the actions we do not take in building our healthier selves.
imaware™ is an advanced, ultra-precise at-home testing platform that empowers individuals with awareness of life-altering conditions such as celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, prostate cancer and cardiovascular disease. We believe that home-based testing is one of the best ways to start a conversation with your doctor about achieving your health goals.