This year Monday 5 to Sunday 11 July is National Health Information Week. The idea is to increase the quality of health care people receive by promoting high quality information for patients and the public. It’s about highlighting the importance, and raising the profile of, health literacy; offering a platform for collaborative working between different partners; and reminding us all what good, reliable, health information looks like.
Are you currently undergoing medical treatment or taking prescription medication to treat a condition? Do you know what condition you have? Do you understand the treatments you are receiving and any likely side effects? Are you fully aware of the range of treatments available to you? Did you choose your treatment option or did your Doctor do it? Do you suffer with side effects from medication you are taking? Is there an alternative medication? You owe it to yourself to fully understand what treatments you are receiving and whether they are the best option for you.
Now, this may simply be a chat with your Doctor or Specialist, but this can be challenging. They don’t mean to but they can use confusing jargon and technical terms, be short of time or feel you are questioning their judgement. Also, even if you do have a good conversation, you may not remember all of what they said or become overwhelmed by information.
One way to combat this is to do some research beforehand. The internet is a truly amazing resource of information on virtually every subject you can imagine. But beware, there are pit falls. Not everything on the internet is true and in some cases information can be biased, misleading or deceptive. Even other media such as TV and newspapers have to be treated with caution. Often journalists are looking for a good headline rather than to slavishly report the facts.
There are some useful questions to ask about health information you find. These are:
• Where does the information come from? Who produced it? Was it the NHS or a trusted charity or health organisation?
• Is the information relevant to the country you live in? Not all treatments are available everywhere.
• How up to date is the information? When was it published or last updated? Health information changes over time – make sure it is current.
• Who is the author? Does it make sense that they would know what they are talking about.
• Is the information based on evidence reviews or case studies?
• Why has it been produced? Is it to inform or is there an agenda? Is the website profit driven / trying to sell you something?
• It is also a good idea to cross-check information. This means looking to see if it is repeated by more than one reliable source.
Remember, Hypnotherapy can be an alternative to other more invasive or time consuming therapies. Hypnotherapy can be used to treat a wide range of conditions. Please check out which condition I treat by clicking here. But I am not an expert on everything and other Hypnotherapists may offer other services and treatments.