Making Wise Health Decisions
Throughout your life you will have to make health decisions for yourself and your family. The decisions you make will influence your overall well-being as well as the quality and cost of your care. In general, people who work with their doctors to make health decisions are happier with the care they receive and the results they achieve.
Why should you partner with your doctor to make decisions? Aren't you paying him or her to know what to do? It's not always clear what choices are the right ones for you. There are often several approaches to diagnosing and treating a health problem. And you are more likely to feel better about the chosen approach if it is the one best suited to your needs and values.
The best formula for making health decisions is to combine the most reliable medical facts with your personal values. These include your beliefs, fears, lifestyle, and experiences, and they all play a role in helping you make decisions about your health.
Skills for Making Wise Health Decisions
The following are some simple steps for you to follow when you have a health decision to make. Depending on the decision, the process may take a few minutes, a few hours, or several weeks. Take as much time as you need to make the decision that is right for you.
- What are your choices? Tell your doctor that you want to share in making the decision. Ask your doctor to clearly state the decision that needs to be made and what your choices are.
- Get the facts. Learn all about each option by using resources like the library, your doctor, and reliable Web sites you can trust. Make sure the information you collect is based on sound medical research, not the results of a single study or facts published by a company that will profit by your using its product.
- What do you think? Consider your own needs and values and what you hope for as the best possible outcome. Talk with family members and others who will be affected by your decision. Then sort out the information you've gathered. Make a list of pros and cons as you see them for each option. You may want to share your list with your doctor to make sure you have all the information you need.
- Try on a decision. Write down what you expect will happen if you choose a particular option. Ask your doctor if what you expect is reasonable. Ask again about the side effects, pain, recovery time, cost, or long-term outcomes of that option. Then see if you still feel it's the best choice for you.
- Make an action plan. After you and your doctor have made a decision, find out what you can do to make sure that you will have the best possible outcome. Write down the steps that you need to take next. Think positively about your decision, and do your part to ensure success by following your doctor's advice. Remember, when you share in making a decision, you share the responsibility for the outcome.
- WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise. © 2009 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.
Improved Preventive Care Coverage. Your current Wellness and Prevention benefits include 100 percent colonoscopy coverage under the UT SELECT preventive care program. This means that a colonoscopy performed by a network physician at a network facility will now be available at no cost to you. Listed below are other important preventive care exams that you should consider:
- Routine Physical Exam*
- Immunizations • Well-child Exam (under age 2)
- Well-woman Exam*
- Routine Mammograms*
- Prostate (PSA)
- Osteoporosis Screening Screening
*Services limited to one per person per plan year. Learn more by calling UT SELECT Customer Service at 1-866-882-2034.
Top Questions to Ask Your Doctor. We believe that an understanding of the relationship between health and cost of care and better communication with your doctor will ultimately increased use of self care practices. Go to our new website at www.livingwell.utsystem.edu and view/print list of top questions to ask your doctor based on top modifiable/preventable conditions like:
Conditions Management Recourse. If you have a chronic condition, you don’t have to go it alone. Now you can find personalized help and support with the Personal Health Manager at Blue Access® for UT SELECT members. Whether you have diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure or another chronic disease, the Personal Health Manager can help you take control.
Ask A features that connect you via e-mail with dietitians, registered nurses, personal trainers and life coaches
- Guidance plans for common chronic conditions
- A health encyclopedia and drug index
- Clinical Tools and My Charts to track your progress
Check out the Personal Health Manager at Blue Access® for UT SELECT for members to help manage your chronic condition. When you do, the forecast for the future will include a better quality of life. See below details on how to contact our Conditions Management Recourse:
By phone: Call 1-800-462-3275
- Simply go to http://www.bcbstx.com/ut/
- Log onto Blue Access® with your personal user name and password
- Select the Personal Health Manager link.
- Look for the “Health Information” tools or click on the “Ask a Nurse” to send your questions to health professionals through a secure messaging system.
- 24/7 Nurse line. A staff of trained, experienced registered nurse counselors is available 24/7 to answer health care questions and provide information about a wide variety of health care issues and medical non-emergencies. To talk to a nurse, call this toll-free number: 1-888-315-9473. Click here to view and print a 24/7 Nurse line refrigerator card.
Fitness Over Forty, a series of video presentations targeting the increasing "over Forty” population, addresses health and fitness issues that are specific to men and women ages 25 to 54 and older. Dr. David Di Paolo, radiologist at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler and nationally-certified fitness trainer, hosts the series featuring UT Health Science Center medical professionals who inform viewers about the benefits of a healthy diet and active lifestyle. Just go to http://www.uthct.edu/fitnessoverforty/archive.asp, and search for a topic that you are interested in.
- UT System NEW Wellness Website!
GREAT NEWS! Now you can access and learn about all your Wellness Programs and Services in one place.
There is no better time to start taking charge of your health. We invite you to develop your own personal wellness program today! Make sure to visit our Web site regularly for ongoing updates and promotions at
- Lifestyle Management: Weight Management Programs. Sometimes a little extra support is all it takes to stay on track with weight loss goals. The UT SELECT Weight Management Program provides just that. When our members decide to make positive lifestyle changes by managing their weight, we’re ready with resources to help make the journey successful!
Learn more about this free program by calling UT SELECT Condition Management at 1-800-462-3275 or read more about this program available to all UT SELECT members (PDF).
- Complementary Alternative Medicine Discount Program. With your UT SELECT membership, you're automatically eligible to receive up to 30 percent off standard fees through a network of more than 35,000 practitioners, spas, wellness and fitness centers.
UT SELECT members have access to wholehealthmd.com, which provides guidance on the potential benefits of integrating alternative medicine with conventional health care. Read more about this discount program.
This information is provided by The University of Texas System, Office of Employee Benefits and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition.
If you have a Benefits question, submit your question by replying to the “newsletter email” or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
UT System Employee Benefits Web site: www.utsystem.edu/benefits/
UT System Retirement Programs Web site: www.utretirement.utsystem.edu
Your Local Benefits Office: http://www.utsystem.edu/benefits/contacts#1