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The Take-Charge Patient: How You Can Get the Best Medical Care

The Take-Charge Patient: How You Can Get the Best Medical Care

by M.A. Martine Ehrenclou


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The Take-Charge Patient Puts the Expertise of 200 Medical Professionals in Your Hands.

Frustrated or confused about how to get good medical care? In her newest book, The Take-Charge Patient: How You Can Get The Best Medical Care, (winner of 18 book awards) author and patient advocate, Martine Ehrenclou, empowers patients to become proactive, well informed participants in their own care. With advice and personal stories from over 200 doctors, nurses, pharmacists, health psychologists, patients and more, The Take-Charge Patient reveals insider information on how to cut through the red tape and navigate today’s complex health care system with confidence.

Ehrenclou empowers readers with vital information on how to find the right doctor, how to communicate effectively with doctors, how to prepare for medical appointments, prevent medical errors and medication mistakes, obtain discounted medication, manage your health insurance, and much more. The Take-Charge Patient will forever change how you act as a patient and thereby vastly improve the quality of the medical care you receive.

Six months into her research for The Take-Charge Patient, Martine Ehrenclou developed debilitating, chronic pain and used every strategy in her new book. She went from author and advocate for others to an advocate for herself and became a take-charge patient. After eleven doctors failed to diagnose her correctly, Martine found her own diagnosis and the correct surgeon to treat her. She is now pain free.

According to Ehrenclou, your health care is a team sport. The Take-Charge Patient shows you how to take charge of what you can and become an effective player. Martine Ehrenclou has also written the 16 award-winning Critical Conditions: The Essential Hospital. Guide to Get Your Loved One Out Alive (Lemon Grove Press). Ehrenclou writes monthly articles for several health websites, national magazines, and is interviewed regularly on national TV and radio such as ABC News, ABC World News, Woman’s Day, Family Circle, Los Angeles Times Magazine, Publishers Weekly, and many more. She frequently lectures on how to be an advocate for yourself and your loved ones at universities, hospitals and various organizations.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780981524030
Publisher: Lemon Grove Press LLC
Publication date: 01/09/2019
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Martine Ehrenclou is an award-winning author, freelance journalist, and patient advocate. Her newest health book, The Take-Charge Patient: How You Can Get The Best Medical Care, is the winner of 18 book awards and empowers readers to become proactive and effective participants in their own healthcare. Through her books, lectures, and published articles, Martine reveals insider information on how to interact effectively with medical professionals and navigate the healthcare system with confidence.

Martine regularly publishes articles on topics of patient empowerment, patient advocacy, patient engagement, patient safety, the partnership between physicians and patients, and other health/medical related issues. She has been interviewed on national TV and radio, for magazines, newspapers and websites, including NBC News, ABC News, CBS News, NPR, Prevention Magazine, Woman's Day, MORE Magazine, Family Circle, and many more. Martine lectures at universities, health organizations, disease organizations, and hospitals.

She is also the author of Critical Conditions: The Essential Hospital Guide To Get Your Loved One Out Alive, which won 16 book awards. She received her Masters degree with honors in psychology from Pepperdine University, Los Angeles and earned a certificate in patient advocacy from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

Table of Contents

Foreword ix

Introduction xi

1 How I Became a Take-Charge Patient 1

2 How You Become a Take-Charge Patient 13

3 The Take-Charge Patients Toolkit 27

4 How to Choose the Best Doctor for You 45

5 Your Relationship with Your Doctor 57

6 Your Relationship with the Doctor's Staff 73

7 Scheduling Tips to Get in to See the Doctor 77

8 Prepare for Your Doctor Visit 83

9 The Doctor Will See You Now 91

10 Specialists 103

11 How to Prevent Medication Errors and Manage Your Medications 119

12 How to Manage Medical Errors (Misdiagnosis, Missed Diagnosis and No Diagnosis) 137

13 How to Research Your Medical Conditions, Medications and Treatments 149

14 How to Get Discounted Medical Care and Discounted Medications 155

15 Your Health Insurance 163

16 Serious Illnesses and Chronic Medical Conditions 175

17 Tests, Procedures and Surgeries 195

18 The Hospital .207

19 Urgent Care Centers, Retail Medical Clinics and the Emergency Room 217

20 Prevention-Your Health 223

21 Religious Institutions and How They Can Help You 231

22 Patient Advocacy. 241

23 Concierge Doctors and Patient-Centered Care 247

24 Telemedicine and Telehealth 251

25 Why It Is Essential to Create Your Legal Health Documents Now 257

Definitions 261

Resources 265

Recommended Books 270

References 271

Acknowledgments 277

Patient Safety Checklists and Sample Questions for Yourself and Your Doctor 279

Index 299

About the Author 305

What People are Saying About This

Jacob Teitelbaum

Well done! It's time the medical system worked for YOU! Health advocate, Martine Ehrenclou, comes to the rescue, showing you how to go from being a "medical victim" to a "take-charge patient.

-- Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, best-selling author, Beat Sugar Addiction Now!, From Fatigued to Fantastic, Real Cause Real Cure and Pain Free 1-2-3

Peter J. Pronovost

The Take-Charge Patient is an excellent resource for patients. Comprehensive and thorough, it provides patients with informed checklists to ensure they get the best care possible. Patients who are actively involved in their healthcare realize better outcomes.

-- Peter J. Pronovost, MD, PhD, Professor, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and Bloomberg School of Public Health; Director, The Armstrong Institute of Safety and Quality, author of Safe Patients, Smart Hospitals

Wayne Parsons

Martine Ehrenclou has produced the best practical step-by-step guide for patients and caregivers ever written. In 30 years of dealing with people of all ages suffering from injury and illnesses I have witnessed thousands of poor history taking, misdiagnosis, wrong treatment and lack of follow-thru and follow-up. The Take-Charge Patient not only explains the medical treatment landscape but, in simple language, explains exactly what the patient must do to navigate the health care system. The Take-Charge Patient is probably the most important book you will ever add to your library.

-- Wayne Parsons, Plaintiffs Trial Attorney, Board of Governors American Association for Justice

Zoudhi Hajjaj

Consider this book your healthcare GPS — an essential reference and toolkit filled with practical advice on navigating this country's complex medical system. Put this at the top of your reading list!

-- Zouhdi Hajjaj, MD

Jack C. Rosenfeld

Martine Ehrenclou has created the definitive guide to personalized medical care. The book encourages patients and medical providers to become advocates so together they can improve medical outcomes.

-- Jack C. Rosenfeld, MD

David Lee Scher

The Take-Charge Patient should be considered the Bible of the participatory medicine movement. Ms. Ehrenclou's book is written for easy understanding, with every topic a patient, caregiver, or advocate could think of. There are checklists which make organization of thoughts more simplified. Regardless of one's educational or medical experiences, this book will serve to assist anyone going to an initial doctor visit or facing a complex medical diagnosis. She has a rare empathetic view encompassing patients, caregivers, and health care providers. I recommend that the government and every health insurance company give this book to their consumer/patients.

-- David Lee Scher, MD, FACP, FACC, FHRS

Marlu Harris

Martine's book helped me take action for my son's illness. By following her guidelines and creating a patient summary of all symptoms and medications he had taken to chart the course of his illness, I was able to assert myself in getting him seen more quickly and being taken more seriously. Martine's book was a godsend. Following her lead has helped me feel more in control in dealing with the medical world.

-- Marlu Harris

Jackie Koob

This book is the encyclopedia for ensuring the best medical care and the how to accomplish it for all non-medical people. It is exceptional and invaluable, the essential tool for obtaining and coordinating your care needs and making sure they are met. Every family needs this book for helping aging parents, ill children and yourself.

-- Jackie Koob, BSN, RN

Peter B. Angood

This new book from an established author, and recently a successfully treated complex patient, is an important contribution from the enlarging community of patient advocates and provides everyone with core information on how to become a successful patient in today's complicated health care environment. The Take-Charge Patient is refreshing in how it advocates the establishment of strong interpersonal communication and relationship building as the essence for successful health care. Patients and health care providers all want the best of outcomes — this books helps everyone to learn how to make that happen by focusing on people-to-people interactions.

-- Peter B. Angood, MD, CEO, American College of Physician Executives

Albert W. Wu

This useful book provides a roadmap to help patients to navigate the health care system and regain control. Martine Ehrenclou provides a balanced set of suggestions for things to do — and not to do — all organized into common-sense categories and simple checklists. And she has road-tested virtually all of it herself in the course of her own medical encounters. This book explains how you can become your own best advocate, and improve your chances to benefit from the care you receive.

-- Albert W. Wu, MD, MPH, Professor/Director, Center for Health Services and Outcomes Research, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Larry Miller

What role can patients play if they want to get the best medical care? The answers are in this excellent book. Martine Ehrenclou has provided very useful recommendations for people to maximize their chances of getting the best medical care they can. She bravely describes her own ordeal with a chronic pain condition that lead to a successful treatment only because she continued to search for answers. Utilizing the recommendations and patient safety checklists in this book is the best way to influence your doctor to treat you in the most appropriate way possible. You need to influence your doctor to make the effort to give you the best care he can.

-- Larry Miller, MD, FACP, Clinical Professor, UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine

From the Publisher

“Ehrenclou sets a proactive tone for this empowering and refreshing roadmap to navigating the torturous healthcare system, outlining everything from how to manage health information to finding lower-cost/free healthcare. Each chapter has a patient checklist that is encouraging and practical. Full of cogent information, this exhaustive guide functions best as reference material for patients who want to take on their own case.” (Publishers Weekly)


“A brilliant and powerful roadmap for your success. The Take-Charge Patient masterfully assists us in knowing how to take care of ourselves medically in this very challenging world.” (Huffington Post)

“…a roadmap to help patients navigate the health care system and regain control. The book explains how to become your own best advocate, and improve your chances to benefit from care. Martine Ehrenclou provides a balanced set of suggestions organized into common-sense categories and simple checklists. And she has road-tested virtually all of it herself...” (Albert W. Wu, MD, MPH, Professor, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health)


“For anyone facing a complex diagnosis or condition in today’s increasingly complicated health world, The Take-Charge Patient is a valuable tool and guide with sound advice that won’t soon be outdated. Ehrenclou covers everything with the kind of authority and know-how only someone who has experienced these challenges first-hand can achieve. The information is thorough, the tone comforting, and straightforward suggestions make even the most daunting tasks seem doable.” (ForeWord Reviews)

“Every American family should read and keep a copy of the excellent The Take-Charge Patient, the well researched, fantastically organized book by Martine Ehrenclou. A definite keeper, it is not boring or overwhelming, all of the information is very practical and explained in an approachable, easy-to-follow and understand way. It offers credible information, necessary for a solid foundation on which to make better healthcare decisions for ourselves and those we care about.” (Reader Views Reviews)

“An extremely well-written, well thought out and well put together book. Ehrenclou takes the reader by the hand and provides him/her with step-by-step instruction on how to become that so important “Take-Charge” patient – rather than having her readers become medical victims due to lack of knowledge and resources needed to take charge of their medical situations. Ehrenclou seems to have a true calling as a patient advocate for herself and those in the world around her... (Rebecca’s Reads)

“…a treasure trove of useful information. Hailed by many in the medical community, this is an inside look at the way the medical system works and how to get the best medical care.” (BookViews)

“Ehrenclou has done a masterful job in thoroughly packing her book with extremely persuasive and useful advice about what it means to take a proactive stance when it comes to your health. The text is precise, well-researched, reader friendly, enriched with compelling examples and anecdotes. Without doubt, this book will bring attention to the need to change our mindsets from being reactive to becoming proactive concerning our health care, which has never been more important than it is today.” (Book Pleasures)

“The Take-Charge Patient should be considered the Bible of the ‘participatory medicine movement.’ It is written for easy understanding, with every topic a patient, caregiver, or advocate could think of. Checklists which make organization simplified to assist anyone going to a doctor or facing a complex diagnosis. The government and every health insurance company should give this book to their consumer/patients.” (David Lee Scher, MD, FACP, FACC, FHRS)

This book is exactly what I would expect such a work to be. It is well written, informative, full of surprises and specific recommendations on how to deal with them. The language is simple enough that any high school graduate can understand it, but has enough depth to satisfy the most educated non-medical reader. I would give it a ten if the scale went that high. However, since the scale only goes to five, I will have to settle for that. I was half way through this book when I had a relatively minor medical emergency. I had not even finished the books’ recommendations and I started using them. They worked. I am not recommending that you ignore half the book, but my personal experience is that if you take the book’s recommendations and use them, you will get better care. That is the intent of this book. In my personal case, I can verify that it succeeded. Much of the advice is obvious once you read it, but often ignored and not acted upon. Each chapter ends with a list of specific action items in textbook fashion. This is a brilliant presentation. At the end of each chapter, the reader is given a specific list of tasks to accomplish for themselves and their loved ones. These lists, based on the chapters that precede them, set this book apart. While most of the advice is obvious, some of it is less so. One example that jumped out at me comes near the end of the book. In today’s often agnostic society, we tend to forget the power of the clergy. Even those who have distanced themselves from religious institutions can benefit from the presence of a representative of “the cloth” to help them through the medical morass. If you do not have a preexisting relationship with a religious professional, you can call on the hospital chaplain. Chaplains offer emotional and spiritual support regardless of your denomination. They provide comfort for patients and offer a compassionate ear. Chaplains pray with patients and assist them and their families in making difficult decisions about end-of-life care. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, hospital chaplains are taking on bigger roles in patient care and are now being integrated into medical teams. Interest in the links between religion, spirituality and health, has given rise to research on how spiritual guidance and discussion can help improve a patient’s medical outcome. I worked in the chapel when I was in the Air Force. This advice is obvious to me, but like much of the advice in this book would not be obvious to everyone. Read this book. Take its advice. It may save your life. (Robert H.; Goodreads)

Larry Dossey

Entering today's medical system can be life-saving but also bewildering and dangerous. Take the guesswork out of your experience by letting Martine Ehrenclou be your guide. You will not find a better ally.

-- Larry Dossey, MD, best-selling author, Healing Words, Reinventing Medicine, and The Power of Premonitions

Daniel Wohlgelernter

Martine's insights in this book are invaluable. The strategies and recommendations provided are presented in an easy-to-assimilate style. This book should be mandatory reading for all patients, particularly those searching for a new physician, or facing the prospect of a major procedure or surgery.

-- Daniel Wohlgelernter, MD

Debbie Robins

The Take-Charge Patient is the second book in Martine Ehrenclou's incredible body of work. It masterfully assists us, once again, in knowing how to take care of ourselves medically in this very challenging world. Martine has written such a brilliant and powerful roadmap for our success.

-- Debbie Robins, M.A., best—selling author and Huffington Post blogger.

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The Take-Charge Patient: How YOU Can Get the Best Medical Care 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
MomsChoiceAwards More than 1 year ago
The Take-Charge Patient is a recipient of the prestigious Mom's Choice Award. The Mom’s Choice Awards honors excellence in family-friendly media, products and services. An esteemed panel of judges includes education, media and other experts as well as parents, children, librarians, performing artists, producers, medical and business professionals, authors, scientists and others. A sampling of the panel members includes: Dr. Twila C. Liggett, ten-time Emmy-winner, professor and founder of PBS’s Reading Rainbow; Julie Aigner-Clark, Creator of Baby Einstein and The Safe Side Project; Jodee Blanco, New York Times best-selling Author and; LeAnn Thieman, motivational speaker and coauthor of seven Chicken Soup For The Soul books. Parents and educators look for the Mom’s Choice Awards seal in selecting quality materials and products for children and families.
FeatheredQuillBookReviews More than 1 year ago
Knowing that this author’s first book, Critical Conditions, was a true ‘must-read,’ it is no surprise that this second offering is a necessity that will seriously help anyone and everyone who is tired and frustrated (and more than a little frightened) with the medical care that they are receiving in this country today. Even with the best doctors by their side, the treatment and care being given patients in hospitals, doctor’s offices and nursing homes can vary greatly and sometimes it can be quite bad. The constant fight between private healthcare and national healthcare has been fought for decades, yet the one who is constantly losing in the battle is the American public. Haunting personal stories are told every day. Recently one was told regarding the fact that the doctor had written notes on a chart and the assistant reading those notes to the patient actually screwed up the information and had the patient taking far more medication than they should have been taking. The doctor - this ‘professional’ - stated that it was just a ‘mistake in communication;’ a mistake that had the patient almost dying from an overdose. Charts that are read incorrectly, x-rays that are read incorrectly, treatment plans that harm instead of heal - these are just samples of the issues that are going on out there every day. This author, a patient advocate, does a fantastic job offering everyone who reads this book a chance to become their very own ‘protector.’ With interviews and ‘insider’ information collected from people in the healthcare community, she covers everything from how to choose the right doctor to how to untangle the twists and turns of medical insurance. Splitting the book into easy to read, and, better yet, easy to understand, categories - readers first learn about the author’s own trials with the medical industry and how she used her skills and studies to become a ‘Take-Charge Patient.’ The book then takes the reader by the hand and leads them through the process carefully and intelligently. Step one is all about preparing for your doctor’s appointment. This truly teaches people how to build confidence and be able to find a way to be polite and work with the doctor, but also build the assertiveness and persistence that they need to be proactive. As the book moves forward, it takes into account all the paperwork that is sometimes impossible to get a handle on; the author breaks everything down into ‘health summaries’ that focus on how a patient would read and better understand diagnoses, treatments, and whatever past health issues they may have suffered. One of the best and most helpful parts is at the end of each chapter where a ‘patient checklist’ allows the reader to make sure they have understood the material presented and are ready to move forward. In addition, at the back of the book, there is an area reserved for safety checklists and lists of sample questions that you can (and should) ask your doctor about everything from pain to tests to mediations prescribed. Ms. Ehrenclou has made sure to touch on all bases in order to help people feel better and safer about their medical care by taking charge of their own future. Quill Says: Becoming a take-charge patient and looking after your own health definitely begins by reading this informational and extremely helpful book!
AllbooksReviewCE More than 1 year ago
Inevitably at some point in our lives we will be involved in some facet of the healthcare system. Whether it be about ourselves, family or friends, at the time of the illness most of us are stressed and not thinking clearly. We find ourselves caught up in a world we do not understand. When that happens we forget to give important information or ask the questions we need answered. This may ultimately lead to medical error. For the past few decades we have placed our doctors on pedestals, like Gods. They are in fact highly educated human beings. They have good days and bad days just like the rest of us. We as a society have become complacent in our responsibility towards our own health, becoming dependent upon them. From the doctors’ perspective, they are bombarded with increasing and exorbitant expenses making it difficult to even be in practice, let alone the tremendous effort and dedication on their part to stay updated with rapidly advancing medical knowledge and technology. Many physicians are heavily influenced by drug companies. Talk about the doctors making money. Take a look at many drug companies’ profits! Who is really making the money? The author, Martine Ehrenclou has taken the time to meticulously research the importance of the role of ‘patient advocate’. Her research has involved more than 200 physicians and patients. Throughout the development of her book she herself became the patient and was 100% proactive in her own diagnosis and recovery. It is her hope to educate as many people as possible about the necessity of an advocate thus receiving the best medical care possible. M.E. shares many strategies with us from how to get started with being prepared before the crisis, to preparation of legal documents relieving your family of traumatic decisions. She suggests we begin with documentation of medical history; complete health file, a list of current medications and allergies. If you have more than one issue to address write them down with the top three as the priority and stay focused while discussing these issues. Gone are the days when you could sit and chat, the doctor doesn’t have the time. As with all aspects of human interaction using polite and courteous attitudes works best. Extend this to all healthcare staff including the ‘Receptionist’. She has many duties other than answering the phone and is respectfully known as the ‘Gatekeeper’. Marines Ehrenclou is an award-winning author, patient advocate and speaker. It does not surprise me that her first book ‘Critical Conditions: The Essential Hospital Guide To Get Your Loved One Out Alive’ won 15 awards. I read and absorbed her impressive work then and now I will use this book as my own personal guide in preparation for my future. I hope you find her strategies as easy to follow as they are written. Included are references, definitions as well as numerous check lists. Take the first step into the rest of your life by remembering, “Without our health, we have nothing”. Pg223 Take Charge! Reviewer: Cheryl Heinrichs, Allbooks Review
Trista More than 1 year ago
Martine tested every strategy in this book, in person over 16 months. She consulted with 12 physicians, 3 alternative practitioners. She was given 11 diagnoses, 22 medications, and more than 15 procedures/surgeries to cute her pelvic pain. After reading this book, Martine emphasized knowing what was going on, how to ask questions, and to always have someone there to support not only you but your medical rights. I am going to ask for all my medical records soon, especially when she stated how important it is. She even walks you through what to do if you are having problems getting them! Another chapter that stuck out to me was finding a doctor that is understanding to your needs. She went through so many doctors until she finally found one she liked. Some people just settle on the first doctor they meet with - don't! Only do that if you are certain they know what they are doing and they respect you! As a reader, this book gave me ideas on how to confront those doctors that say it is basically "their way or the highway" and get angry when you ask many questions. I loved the part where she guides you getting medical records, even down to contact the board if they will not give you a copy of them.
djv More than 1 year ago
Martine Ehrenclou has written a valuable reference for patients everywhere. If you want to get the most good from your relationship with your doctor, you need to get this book. If you have concerns about suggested surgery and want to know how to move forward, you need to get this book. If you want to review your medical records and don’t know how to do it or have been frustrated dealing with the bureaucracy, you need to get this book. If you are concerned about end of life planning for yourself or a loved one, you need to get this book. If you are in perfect health, have never seen a doctor or been in a hospital and take good care of your body, you need to get this book. Don’t ask why. Just do it!
Becca71 More than 1 year ago
wealth of information ~~In this book the Take Charge Patient Martine teaches us how to make sure we are getting the right kind of care when visiting the doctor or going with a family member. You know the age old story you go to the doctor with a complaint he runs all the tests and can't find anything wrong but yet your still in pain or sick so he sends you to a specialist and then a cycle begins of one doctor after another all saying the same thing they can't find anything wrong. Then there's the take this medicine no take this one before long your tired, confused and even more sick then when you started but no closer to answers. well with the help of this book you can learn how to take control and get answers by being prepared and doing some research. I have been going to the doctors since I was 17 and thought I knew how to deal with it but after reading this book I've realized there are tings I can do to make my visit more productive and less stressful. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is currently seeing a doctor or is the health advocate for a family member or friend. It will not only help in getting answer but will make you a much more informed patient.
kim0712 More than 1 year ago
I have, for years, had multiple medical issues that have puzzled me and caused a lot of pain suffering. It is so difficult to find a doctor these days that will listen to everything you have to say because they all seem to be in such a hurry! Some push your symptoms to the side as if they are unimportant or make you feel like a hypochondriac. I have become so tired of it, that I gave up on trying to get to the root of my problem. Enter a great book, The Take Charge Patient, by Martine Ehrenclou. This books teaches you how to become your own advocate and how to be well informed about health care questions and decisions. It is filled with advice from doctors, nurses and even patients that have maneuvered this difficult road towards finding answers and cutting through red tape so you can get the best medical care available. Through this book, Ehrenclou teaches you how to handle medical appointments from start to finish – how to find the right doctor and how to ask the right questions. She also delves into the health insurance industry by teaching you how to manage your health insurance, and how you can find discounts on medications. I really enjoyed this book – it is so informative and helped me feel more confident talking to health care professionals going forward. I will definitely be using a lot of the strategies she has outlined!
National_Board_Certified More than 1 year ago
Reading The Take-Charge Patient is like being an observer at dozens of doctor's visits or conversations. The margins and footers are filled with quotes and tips from health professionals and patients. The table of contents is a great way to get started---find a chapter that applies to you and be ready with a highlighter, because there will definitely be some information you'll want to remember. The suggestions in this book can be applied in almost any health-care scenario.......everyone can find something they will use. This will be a valued book on my shelf for a long time to come. I received a copy of this book to review. The opinions stated are my own. I very highly recommend this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago