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More questions to ask your doctor

Posted on May 14, 2013
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You can't be too informed when entering a doctor's office. Informed patients are safer, save more money and get better sooner. That's why Union Plus is collaborating with Consumer Reports to bring union members, retirees and their families empowering health-care information that will make you a better informed consumer of treatments and procedures.

Check out Choosing Wisely, a set of reports encouraging conversations between physicians and patients about the overuse or misuse of tests and procedures that offer little benefit and may sometimes lead to harm. Here are some ideas of what to look out for when visiting your doctor so you, as a patient, can avoid needless and even harmful procedures:

  • If you're pregnant, two national medical specialty societies now recommend strongly against scheduling an early delivery of your child. It may be more convenient for you or your doctor, but it raises medical risks and may shortchange your child's development. Read and download the report on the Choosing Wisely tab here.
  • If you're having minor surgery, you probably don't need a slew of tests beforehand. Some hospitals will give you a chest X-ray, or blood tests, or heart tests, which you don't need if you're otherwise healthy. Read and download the report on the Choosing Wisely tab here.
  • If you're having migraine headaches, some drugs can make your headache worse. Using too much pain medicine can lead to a condition called MOH, or medication overuse headache. Drugs containing opioids (Norco, Vicodin, and generics), oxycodone (Percocet and generics) and butalbital (Flioricet, Fiorinal, and generics) can make headaches worse. Read and download the report on the Choosing Wisely tab here.

Consumer Reports is steadily adding to the collection of patient-friendly reports, each about procedures that you should question if they're offered. Check the current list of reports, on everything from allergies to kidney disease to cancer.

In addition, check the free money-saving guides designed to help you navigate the world of drugs â€" to save money when you buy them, to talk to your doctor about your treatment options and choices, and to take drugs more safely and wisely.

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