I recently picked my youngest son up from camp.  While at camp he acquired a bad case of poison ivy.  I took him right to the doctor.    Sometimes it is obvious if medical care is required.  Unfortunately, it is not always easy to know if you should stay at home and let something take its course, or if you should seek medical attention.  There is a resource employers can make available to their employees to assist them in making that decision – a Self Care Book.

Back to my son, the next day he complained of pain in his leg (the same leg that had the worst of the poison ivy). I went to my handy medical self care book and started reading.  I discovered the pain was where a lymph node is located, and I concluded there was a chance he might have developed an infection.  I also discovered what symptoms to look for to determine if further medical attention was warranted. From the book I knew I had to keep a close watch on him.  An hour later when he vomited and had a fever I wasted no time in getting him to the emergency room.  I was told it was good I brought him in when I did.  They were able to give him antibiotics and send him on his way.  I was told if I had waited he would have ended up in the hospital.  In this case the self care book guided me to the hospital.  In some cases it may lead you to avoiding the time and expense of such a trip.

Medical self care books and programs are inexpensive to provide, but the savings they produce can be substantial and can be realized in a short period of time.  Many studies have documented the ROI of a printed self care book on reduced doctor and emergency room visits.[i] These benefits occur because medical self-care programs teach employees and their dependents to become wiser health care consumers.  They learn to make better decisions about when to go to the doctor or emergency room, and when they can stay at home and treat themselves using self-care procedures.


[i] Medical Self Care Savings, American Institute for Preventative Medicine, Farmington Hills, MI