Much enlightenment regarding health provision integrated with consumerism is to be gained from this chapter. Among the first is the reality that in the age of consumerism not every medical help is genuine. In fact, there are times when a consumer is susceptible to false health claims due to the two conditions of spontaneous re mission and the placebo effect. The placebo effect is a temporary improved health of state that is brought about by substances that have no known therapeutic value. On the other hand, the spontaneous remission is the ability of some ailments to limit themselves such as the cold. These two effects lead to purchase of medicine in millions of dollars, which calls for the average person target of so many advertising programs to be sophisticated in the purchase of health care products. In addition, the use of placebo has the effect of inducing future health problems that are complicated in the future. Thus, as one concerned of future health, staying away from placebos and unnecessary drug intake is recommendable
An important aspect that emerged from the chapter is the need for managed health care to avoid unnecessary purchase of drugs and visit to the health care systems. Thus to curb the health consumerism that is very frequent, the individual needs to diagnose symptoms that are a frequent and do not require visit to the physician. Among other helpful habits are learning first aid, performing monthly breast and testicular self-examination and the possession of home pregnancy and ovulation kits. The individual needs to understand the situations that require medical help in light of the fact that almost 70% of the visits to the doctors are unnecessary. An important thing that every individual should strive to have is an open and honest relationship with his or her health care provider. This entails asking the right questions that may involve writing up questions before the appointment. Some important questions that the individual should be interested in finding out include the side effects of the various treatments that are administered. Managed health care will entail balancing between specialized medical attention and personal involvement.
All said and done, active participation in an individual’s self-treatment is the only safety measure against health consumerism. There needs to be understanding and use of the informed consent rights that infers to the right of an individual to get a non-technical explanation of the effects, benefits and consequences of a procedure that is to be done on them. The decision of choosing a primary care practitioner is not easy even thought there is the need for the individual to have a practitioner for general medical advice, appropriate referral and other forms of preventive health care. There are two approaches identified, the first is the allopathic approach and the second is the primary care approach. The first is rather specialized where the latter involves a more generalized practitioner who treats routine ailments.
The decision of choosing hospital and a clinic depends on several factors that include income, insurance coverage and particular needs. In addition, various classifications of the health care providers along profit lines have bought about the issue of patient dumping. Although ti was prohibited in the 1980’s it is still carried out subtly. Patient dumping is the practice by private or profit-oriented hospitals of taking patients whom are not profitable or cannot pay for the services to hospitals that are non-profit. Another demerit is that most of the profit oriented health service providers are owners of diagnostic laboratories. This is a potential exploit in that there will be increased referrals to the diagnostic laboratories. However, thanks to the law such practices are prohibited and amount to conflict of interest situation. In case of Mal practices, an individual is now able to obtain the information regarding health care providers on past insurance breaches and sanctions from the state license boards and the National Practitioner Data Bank.