Patients can save money by asking doctors right questions

Patients’ failure to ask the right questions when their medical doctors recommend surgery results in numerous patients forking out more money than they needed to.

This is according to Bibi Goss-Ross, the managing director for Advanced Health, who said a lack of information is what makes thousands of patients spend more money for surgeries.

“When surgery is required, are patients asking the right questions from their doctors?” asked Goss-Ross.

She said patients often accept recommendations from their doctors; however, they have a right to question the proposed treatment route to minimise costs.

Patients have options

Goss-Ross told Sunday World that patient education is empowering, noting that patients have options when it comes to surgery.

She added that patients have the right to ask a doctor if day surgery is an option.

“Understanding your options empowers you to participate in choices pertaining to your health, so, you can make informed decisions based on your medical history, lifestyle, and desired outcomes.”

With clear communication and access to information, patients can address concerns and build a trusting relationship with their healthcare team, according to Goss-Ross.

She explained: “Patients are allowed to ask questions, but ultimately the doctor needs to decide on the appropriate surgical facility based on the patient profile.

“No patients will be admitted for day surgery when it’s not suitable.”

Access to information

According to statistics released by Advanced Health, 70% of surgery can be done in day hospitals.

“There is a need for consumers to have more access to information. While the evolution of minimally invasive surgery, laparoscopic or keyhole surgery, has transformed surgery, it is surprising that in South Africa this option for minimally invasive surgery is still relatively unknown amongst many patients,” she said.

She revealed that hospitals offer reduced costs and offer patients greater autonomy and control over their treatment decisions.

“Day hospitals embrace technology and minimally invasive surgeries, and this has evolved to the point that even hip and knee replacements can be offered as same-day surgery procedures if the patient profile is appropriate.“

Day hospitals

According to Goss-Ross, opting for surgery in day hospitals significantly enhances patients’ hospital experience by reducing the physical and emotional burdens associated with extended hospital stays and recovery periods.

“This approach fosters a faster reintegration into work, hobbies, and social activities, empowering patients to reclaim independence and control over their lives.

“Specialising in procedures without overnight stays, day hospitals offer quality minimally invasive treatment at a lower cost, resulting in significant savings.

“Day hospitals maintain a lighter atmosphere and lower risk of infection, further enhancing cost-effectiveness.”

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