10 Tips to Help You Navigate the Healthcare System


Our healthcare system is in shambles.

The sooner we all accept it…I don’t even know what to say after that. What I do know is the state of it is 1treacherous. For the foreseeable future, it probably won’t improve anytime soon.

Despite this well known fact, there are still thousands of healthcare workers who are committed to providing the best service and care they can despite circumstances often beyond their control. I know them. I know people who know them. And I’ve seen them in action.

Yet, I still encounter situations that leave me exhausted, perplexed and frustrated. Having dealt with three health crises within the last 14 months involving my mama, my second mama, my aunt, and myself, I’ve learned a lot about navigating the system. I believe in sharing my knowledge because as the saying goes ‘Sharing is caring.’

Below are some tips that’ll hopefully assist you if you find yourself in the endless healthcare loop of
outdated systems, overworked staffers and employee shortages.

1. Ask questions – If there’s something you don’t understand, ask the healthcare provider to elaborate to ensure clarity. Never leave an appointment without a clear understanding.

2. Advocate – For yourself, child, parents, family member, whoever. Part of advocation is asking questions. However, it can often go beyond that. If you’re not satisfied with an answer, visit to a provider or are skeptical about suggestions, let it be known. If there’s something you believe shouldn’t be done, let it be known. You have a right to refuse whatever is suggested.

3. Research – There are thousands of credible resources available to all of us. It’s imperative to gather information because it helps you make well-informed decisions.

4. Specify your needs to yourself – We all have varying levels of comfort. One space we need to be able to acquire some is within our healthcare. Whatever your specific needs are, don’t waver. It may take you a while to secure it but don’t give up.

5. Review your records – Many healthcare providers load results into apps that are accessible by phone. Check them often so you stay abreast of what is happening within your body or those under your care.

6. Get your yearly physical – Most insurance companies cover these, free of charge. For those who don’t have insurance, there are options available. Some clinics and health departments will provide physicals. An online search or call to your local health department should give you a quick answer.

7. Utilize prescription programs – We’re all aware of the continuous rising costs of medicines. The fees can be astronomical for those with insurance and out of reach for those without. There are programs out there that can assist with lowering the cost of necessary meds – GoodRx and Mark Cuban’s Cost Plus Drugs are two worth checking out.

8. Plan ahead – For some, the difficulties in staying focused on their healthcare lie in transportation needs. If this applies to you, there are transportation services available (contingent upon where you reside) that will take you to and from appointments. Keep appointments written on a calendar so you know when they are and can plan accordingly.

9. Give yourself grace – Navigating this world can be scary and intimidating. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to have it all figured out. And let go of the expectation that healthcare providers will always have the answer. No one has all the answers.

10. Have patience – As we’ve already stated, this system is in shambles. While we want the processes to flow smoothly, that isn’t realistic. There is a shortage of healthcare workers but no shortage of people needing healthcare. This means many parts of the system are overloaded and behind. Being angry about it won’t change this fact. However, your mind can acquire more easement through whatever the situation is by asking questions and advocating.

Well wishes to all of you as you continue navigating life!

Kassaundra Shanette Lockhart is a freelance writer.

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