Some Tips for Being a Wise Healthcare Consumer

There is more to being a wise healthcare consumer than getting an annual check-up and hunting for the best prices on prescription medication. A smart healthcare consumer will eat nutritious foods, organize their healthcare information and pay attention to labeling on medications. While the month of February is Wise Health Consumer Month, it is important for people to pay attention to their healthcare needs year-round. Whether they are relatively healthy or need private nursing care, patients who take responsibility for their health can not only save money, they may improve their health as a result.

When people are on the same medications for a long time, they tend to ignore the labeling. It is important for the patient to keep up with the special inserts and labeling provided by the pharmacy, along with the information provided by the pharmaceutical company, it does change from time to time. Labeling warns the consumer about mixing the drugs with alcohol or other medications. It also notifies the user when certain prescriptions should be taken with water or fluids, for example. The longer a drug is out, the more is known about it. New side effects may be discovered, such as drowsiness, allergic reactions or serious interactions with other medications. Checking the labeling regularly will help the patient use the medication wisely and avoid any adverse effects.

No matter how many people live in one household, it is important for all of the medical information to be kept in at least one central location. It should be easily accessible in case of emergency. The name, address, telephone number and specialty of every doctor should be listed for each household member. All medications and their purposes should be listed for each individual. Include all allergies, not just medical ones. If there are homecare givers for a household member, be sure the contact information for the worker and agency are available as well.


Relying upon a doctor to keep the individual healthy is not enough. The patient should eat nutritious, well-balanced meals and avoid foods rich in sodium, cholesterol, sugar and calories. Following a restricted diet can help control life-threatening conditions such as high cholesterol, hypertension and diabetes. A wise consumer will abide by the guidelines recommended by their doctor. When vitamins and minerals are challenging to consume on a regular basis, some consumers may choose to take dietary supplements. While they do supply important nutrients, patients should consult their physician or home healthcare professional before starting a new dietary supplement plan. This may prevent little-known side effects or risky interaction with a prescription medication the patient is already taking.