'The Patient's Playbook' a Guide for the Health Care System

Author Leslie Michelson and Dr. Gail Roboz discuss how to make sure you're getting the best care for you and your family.
5:03 | 10/20/15

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Transcript for 'The Patient's Playbook' a Guide for the Health Care System
Now to something we all have to deal with. That is our health. Navigating the health care system can be overwhelming. There's a great new book called "The patient's playbook" and offers a predescription, if you will to help make sure we're getting the best care. The author Leslie Michelson is here and also joined by 9 director of the leukemia program at the presbyterian medical center, also happens to be my doctor, as well, Dr. Gail roboz and thanks for putting it on my radar, Gail. I'm telling you, I know you're interviewed for it. Leslie, you have worked in the health care industry and you have found that there are many things that can help people and you put it all here in the book and I think people will be surprised by the number of medical errors that are out there and that we need to be aware of. Yeah, it's a huge problem, robin. Preventable medical error is the third leading cause of death in the United States. Right behind heart disease and cancer. We lose 400,000 Americans each and every year to preventible error. No one ever talks about that? And the reason they don't it happens quietly. A woman succumbed to pneumonia but they don't tell you about. There are no crash site. No sirens. And you want to help put an end to that and, Gail, you talked about it and the reason you reached out, everybody should read this. Doesn't matter where you are, if you're well or not this is a book for you why. I can't think of who wouldn't benefit from Reading this. You don't have to be a patient and you don't have to be sick. It's for patient, family members. It's for well people trying to figure out what to ask their doctor. It's for doctors to read and take a look and try to figure out what the patient as a consumer and as a self-advocate needs to get from the doctor. It tells you what kind of vitamins you should take and gets down to the basics in all levels like that but you really start and this is so true with the quarterback, the primary care physician, Leslie. You talk about over and over that that is key in finding that person. How do -- why is it so important and how do you find the right one? Absolutely. Your primary care physician should be the quarterback of your health care delivery system. That's the person who should listen to your symptoms, help you find the right experts when you need them and become your partner in wellness. Helping you manage your cholesterol, your weight, your blood pressure so you live a longer life. How do you find that. Three straightforward steps and I talk about them. The first is take out a piece of paper, make a list of the things that are most important to you. Is it the insurance coverage, the location, is it the hours they have, the hospital they admit to. Second, talk to friends, relatives, neighbors and your physicians, see who they use, see who they think. And then, third, make an appointment. Do a consultation. Interview the physician, just the way you would every other important professional in your life. I mean when you're going to buy a car you go to all these different dealerships and try to get the best deal and ask friends and that. Buying a home you want to be in a good school district yet when it comes to our health care we don't take those statement precautions. We have said over and over in the show, ask your doctor questions. What is the numbering one question we should ask when looking for a doctor, any kind of way? You know, I think you can say you've seen me, you've read my records, you know my story, what is your plan for me? And see what the answer is to that question. What do we do now? What is your plan for me? What is my action, what do I have to do? Who do I have to see? What do I have to eat? Do I need a specialist. What's my plan. Talking about a specialist. You know both -- I know there's some people at home saying this all sounds well and fine but you know what, I can't afford that. I can't afford to find a specialist. There are resources, aren't there, Leslie? First of all the best medical care doesn't cost anymore. Most live near major cities and every major city there is an academic medical center that takes all kinds of insurance coverage. One of the secrets of that health care, it doesn't cost more to get the very best. And there's terrific resources to find the best experts like Dr. Roboz. The first is a website called expe expertscape.com where they've organize the medical literature. Put in your diagnosis, the city you live in and instantaneously you'll get the identities of the physicians and the hospitals who have done the best work. The second is, all the major hospitals now have terrific websites that list the specialties of their physicians and, third, we're a very generous society. We have philanthropies for every single disease and each of those disease specific philanthropies has resources and materials to help patients that have been diagnosed with it. All these resources are free for everyone. And that is so very important. I know you've been looking at me because I had my -- I know I need to come in and get my flu shot as my doctor right now and get that that. Thank you very much. Leslie and Gail. So vital and again you don't have to be sick to be able to get something out of this book. I'll come in and see you real

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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