Foreword Reviews - - Foresight Health & Fitness -

How to Work with Your Doc­tor to Be­come a Knowl­edge-pow­ered Pa­tient

Robert Alan Mcnutt, Uni­ver­sity of North Carolina Press Hard­cover $25 (168pp), 978-1-4696-2917-9

As a physi­cian, Robert Alan Mcnutt comes from a po­si­tion of knowl­edge and power, but he knows that the key to true health is to share knowl­edge rather than hoard it, to of­fer power rather than cling to it.

For many pa­tients, when a doc­tor of­fers op­tions, the pa­tient feels im­me­di­ately trapped into try­ing to make a de­ci­sion. Mcnutt of­fers a process that helps pa­tients com­mu­ni­cate with physi­cians and know what ques­tions to ask to end this feel­ing of help­less­ness. He uses real-life ex­am­ples to help il­lus­trate his points and to make change feel truly pos­si­ble. He ex­plains the role of stud­ies and data on surg­eries and med­i­ca­tions, but the book is as much re­la­tional and prob­lem-solv­ing ad­vice as it is med­i­cal in­for­ma­tion.

For many, be­com­ing an em­pow­ered de­ci­sion maker re­quires a sig­nif­i­cant shift in per­spec­tive. To help make these shifts, Mcnutt ex­plains the ben­e­fits—and they’re quite sig­nif­i­cant, med­i­cally, emo­tion­ally, and oth­er­wise—and ad­dresses com­mon road­blocks peo­ple face in mak­ing the change.

On ev­ery page, his re­spect for pa­tients, for peo­ple, shines through. This at­ti­tude is the book’s great­est as­set and the great­est gift it of­fers peo­ple fac­ing health care choices, from ev­ery­day de­ci­sions to life-threat­en­ing con­di­tions such as heart dis­ease and breast can­cer. The book’s tone is calm and pos­i­tive, and the con­cise chap­ters al­low pa­tients to take the op­por­tu­nity to em­brace change rather than feel­ing bur­dened by the propo­si­tion.

With Mcnutt’s co­op­er­a­tive prob­lem-solv­ing in­sight, pa­tients will feel like part­ners rather than pawns in the health-care sys­tem. His ad­vice also equips par­ents and care­givers to be part of the de­ci­sion-mak­ing process on be­half of those they love and care for. Med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als can also ben­e­fit from his in­sights as they seek to shift from po­si­tions of au­thor­ity to that of guides for the pa­tients in their care.

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