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Migraine Patients As Consumers - Managing Healthcare and the Healthcare Team

by Teri Robert, Lead Health Guide

Things change...
Things change over time. That's pretty much a given concept. Attitudes change over time, some more quickly than others. When I was growing up, doctors were... well, revered is probably a pretty good word. Everyone respected doctors. It was pretty much unheard of for anyone to question them. When the doctor told you to "take your medicine," you did it, without ever even thinking about why. We would never have dreamed that a doctor might have been mistaken about anything, ever.

It's not cliché to say that things were simpler then; it's just a fact. There were far fewer medications, fewer specialists. What we're finding now is that it's also true that many illnesses and diseases went undiagnosed and untreated. Migraine disease and many headache disorders are among those.

With advancements in medical science and technology has come a proliferation of tests, medications, and specialties. Our family doctors have more and more to learn, yet medical school and internships only last so long. The same is true of specialists, and we're now seeing the development of more subspecialties, which makes a great deal of sense.

Patients have changed...
What else has changed? The patient has changed in many cases. We're bombarded with health stories in the media -- television, radio, magazines, newspapers, the Internet. When it's not news stores, it's advertisements. Much of this is positive; we're shown how we can make changes in how we live that will have a positive impact on our health. We're learning that the answers aren't always our doctors' responsibility. Patients today have more information available to us than ever before, at least in part because of the Internet. We're able to learn about illnesses and diseases, medications, and much more.

As we strive to manage our health, it behooves us to match ourselves with doctors whose personalities and the way they work with their patients fit our needs.

Patients are consumers, customers...
So, who has the patient become? The patient has become a consumer, a customer of health care services. The Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary defines a consumer as, "one that utilizes economic goods," and a customer as, "one that purchases a commodity or service." The Merriam-Webster Medical Dictionary defines a patient as, "a client for medical service." This makes a great deal of sense, especially given the rising cost and percentage of income associated with health care.

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