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The Guides

See what each Guide covers


Find and evaluate alternative, natural and complementary therapies
Follow this 8-step guide to identify complementary and alternative therapies; find evidence about benefits and risks; verify supplement ingredients and absence of contaminants; find practitioners and check their qualifications; find ways to pay for complementary/ alternative medicine; and avoid healthcare scams.


Prevent serious illness and injury
Follow this 8-step guide to understand the preventable causes of serious illness and injury and learn how to make lifestyle changes to gain healthy years.

Decide which screening tests to have
Follow this 9-step guide to see recommended screening tests; identify tests beyond standard recommendations that may be appropriate, including tests for genetic risk of cancer; understand the pros and cons of commercial screening packages; use screening results to calculate risk for heart attack and stroke; find and evaluate home screening options and more.

Get the right diagnosis
Follow this 9-step guide to learn how different types of conditions are diagnosed and for which conditions misdiagnosis is most common or most serious; see general symptom checkers and symptom checkers focused on specific types of problems; work with your doctor to avoid misdiagnosis; and obtain effective second opinions.

Optimize your diagnostic testing
Follow this 9-step guide to see what tests are used to diagnose specific conditions; avoid costly overused tests; understand diagnostic test results; avoid excessive radiation in connection with imaging tests; obtain effective second opinions about test results; and find and evaluate home diagnostic testing options.

Research your medical condition
Follow this 7-step guide to efficiently locate, save and organize credible basic and advanced information about the symptoms, causes, diagnosis and treatment of a common, rare or genetic condition; find appointment guides and support; and determine how to monitor the condition.

Navigate a cancer diagnosis
Follow this comprehensive 25-step guide through the specifics of cancer diagnosis and treatment options; treatment and support; and life after treatment.

Identify all of your treatment options
Follow this 9-step guide to find home and OTC treatments for minor conditions; patient and professional level information about options for more serious conditions; clinical guidelines; new/ emerging treatments; pros and cons of clinical trials; palliative and hospice care; and questions to ask to prompt discussion of all treatment options.

Be prepared for a medical emergency
Follow this 9-step guide to make important medical information easily available; understand the signs of a medical emergency; understand how and when to help a person who is choking, how and when to perform CPR and special techniques to use for infants; know how to decide where to go in an emergency; see information about emergency response buttons and more.

Find the best doctor for your care
Follow this 9-step guide to decide when to see a primary care physician and when to seek a specialist; understand the many different types of specialists; find doctors and check their credentials, disciplinary history, reviews, and experience; and see suggestions for using telehealth to expand options or obtain some prescriptions without an in-person visit.


Compare the benefits and risks of a drug
Follow this 9-step guide to check the evidence for how likely a drug is to help you or harm you; determine whether you are at higher than average risk of harm from the drug; check for interactions with other drugs or supplements; and identify restrictions on travel or athletic competition with the drug.

Avoid dangerous mistakes with drugs
Follow this 9-step guide to keep track of your medications, access pill identifiers, understand “high alert” medications, check for drug interactions, protect children and pets and more.


Avoid excessive medication
Follow this 6-step guide to learn about widespread “medication overload” and the risks it creates for older adults in particular, and to identify possible changes in medications to discuss with a doctor or pharmacist.


Find the best hospital for your inpatient care
Follow this 9-step guide to determine the appropriate type of hospital for your care; develop a list of hospital candidates; take into account financial factors that might affect your choice; check hospital ratings from a variety of sources for quality (overall and for specific types of care) and for safety/ infection control and more.

Avoid infections, error and harm in the hospital
Follow this 9-step guide to avoid hazards in the hospital including infections, sepsis, medication errors, falls, blood clots, bed sores, and inadequate response to complications during labor and delivery.


Find and select health coverage
Follow this 8-step guide to find opportunities for health coverage; check eligibility for help paying insurance premiums and other healthcare expenses; compare and select medical and dental plans; and make the most of tax-favored spending and savings accounts (FSAs, HSAs and HRAs).

Spend less on prescription drugs
Follow this 9-step guide to understand drug discount cards; find savings strategies to consider before turning to a discount card; and learn how to respond to drug “formulary” restrictions.

Avoid or resolve medical debt
Follow this 8-step guide to avoid large patient balances and medical debt by utilizing the protection of the No Surprises Act; appealing denials of preauthorization or claims; identifying rights to financial assistance; using protections for uninsured or self-pay consumers; and learning about how and when to get debts discharged in bankruptcy.


Organize your medical information
Summarize your medical history to date; keep a health log going forward; and quickly find forms from other parts of the roadmap.

Obtain, correct, protect and share medical records
Follow this 8-step guide to understand reasons for checking your medical record and creating a personal health record; your right to access your record and limits on the fees that providers may charge for records; how to obtain records and give others access to health information about you; how to correct errors in your record; and how to limit disclosure of your health information.

Create a living will or other advance healthcare plan
Follow this 8-step guide to understand and create a healthcare power of attorney, living will, and/or advance directive; understand DNR or related orders; and ensure that these documents are up-to-date and available if and when needed.


Find and understand medical research publications
Follow this 9-step guide to understand medical research articles and the major search engines for locating them; develop a search query; and evaluate research articles.


Make an informed decision about surgery
Follow this 9-step guide to understand a surgical procedure, its intended benefits and potential complications; investigate the likelihood that the procedure will help you or harm you; obtain an effective second opinion; understand options for anesthesia and where to have the procedure done; and make good use of the informed consent document.