Would you sit there and let yourself get a bad haircut?
Pretty much every one of us has done it at one point or another. We take a look in the mirror, think perhaps we’re not looking our best, and decide it’s time for a haircut. Off to the haircutter expert (stylist, barber, etc.) we go where, for at least part of the time, we’re sitting in a chair facing a mirror watching the haircutter “treat” our case of out-of-control hair. Before we get to the chair, however, we have likely done several key things to set ourselves up for success. We’ve probably chosen to go to a haircutter we know and trust, we’ve perhaps washed our hair so it’s nice and ready for a cut, and we’ve most certainly taken whatever time we feel we need to tell the haircutter exactly what we want and what tends to work best for our hair. We are actively engaged in the process – we are empowered hair care consumers! If we showed up at the salon of a haircutter we’d never seen before, and without a word sat in the chair and let what happens happen, could the haircutter really be blamed if we aren’t entirely satisfied with the outcome?
Accurate statistics of preventable illnesses and deaths are extremely difficult to find because there are so many uncontrollable variables involved. There is, however, an increasing focus on the impact of misdiagnosis, physician error, substandard hospitals and so on. But think about it for a moment. If we, as patients, are not fully engaged in our healthcare, if something goes wrong can we really blame it all on healthcare professionals, hospitals, the “system” and so on? You’d never dream of going for a haircut and not actively engaging in the process since not only would this be setting the haircutter up for failure, but more importantly, there’s a good chance you won’t be happy with the outcome. Why, then, would anyone ever dream of not actively engaging in her/his healthcare?