PREPARED PATIENT BLOG

Patients and experts explore what it takes to find good health care and make the most of it.

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Cancer Survivorship and Fear

Andrew Schorr | February 28, 2011

I had breakfast this morning with my friend, Dave Garcia. Dave is a pit boss on the graveyard shift at the Belagio Hotel in Las Vegas. He is also a 52-year-old chronic lymphocytic leukemia survivor. Today he was to see his oncologist and get his latest blood test results. Would his white blood count be in the normal range? As you can imagine, Dave was on pins and needles.

A Young Father and His Information

Bryan Vartabedian | February 25, 2011

It was sometime in the mid-nineties that parents started showing up in my office with reams of paper. Inkjet printouts of independently unearthed information pulled from AltaVista and Excite. Google didn't exist. In the earliest days of the web, information was occasionally leveraged by families as a type of newfound control.

I'm Dying To Know

Amy Berman | February 24, 2011

In some ways, I consider myself lucky. I know this is a strange comment from someone diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer. I say this, though, because the first steps on my journey with end-stage cancer were undertaken with the help of a team of health care professionals who excelled not only in medicine, but also in communication.|

Guest Blog: A Disconnect in Consumer Reports Survey of Doctors and Patients

Gary Schwitzer | February 23, 2011

The thing that jumped out at me most from the Consumer Reports survey of almost 700 primary care physicians and thousands of CR subscribers - described by CR as "What doctors wish their patients knew" - was something about what patients wish their doctors knew.

Defining Patient Engagement

Donna Cryer | February 18, 2011

The mad scramble to figure out how to 'engage' patients in their healthcare has begun! Everyone from PR firms to hospital board members are trying to figure out how to engage patients in their health care. My question to hospitals and others is this: Why would you reject the help of thousands of individuals positioned in various ways to help you be more successful?

1st Person: Reference Range- A Video Poem On What 'Normal' Means

First Person | February 17, 2011

A nurse in practice for thirty-five years, Veneta Masson's evocative video poem, Reference Range, speaks from both her personal and professional experiences with health care. Dealing with test results and diagnostic technology, Veneta wonders, "Is it normal, you ask. Normal's a shell game you seldom win."

Vanishing Health Care Choices

Trudy Lieberman | February 16, 2011

Ask someone what he or she remembers Obama promising during the great health reform debates, and the response might be: 'We can keep the insurance we have.' The president did offer assurances that there would be no socialized medicine with the government dictating where you could go for care. He did not mention, though, that many insured people already have little say in what kind of coverage they get and who can treat them.

Can Good Care Produce Bad Health?

Amy Berman | February 15, 2011

For those of you who haven't yet heard, I have recently been diagnosed with Stage IV inflammatory breast cancer. This rare form of breast cancer is known for its rapid spread. True to form, it has metastasized to my spine. This means my time is limited. As a nurse, I knew it from the moment I saw a reddened spot on my breast and recognized it for what it was.

A Valentine to Shared Decision Making

Jessie Gruman | February 14, 2011

Shared decision making is hot right now. Research. Surveys. Tools. Training. Conferences. Policies. The current model of shared decision making consists of providing patients with evidence that allows them to compare the risks and side effects of different treatments or preventive services when more than one option is available. After studying the evidence, the theory goes, patients discuss it with their physician, weigh their personal preferences and together the two agree upon a course of action.

The Conversation Continues: Rx Side Effects

CFAH Staff | February 10, 2011


Listening to My Mother

Corinne H. Rieder | February 9, 2011

I can't deny it I miss the mother I once had. Even at age 80, she was vibrant, loving, and independent. And she was strong. For nearly 20 years she provided care to my father, who before his death struggled with normal-pressure hydrocephalus and macular degeneration. What an incredible woman!

Patient Perspectives: Best Patient Blogs of 2010

CFAH Staff | February 9, 2011

This week's roundup features the five nominees for the 2010 Medical Weblog Award for Best Patient Blog: Wheelchair Kamikaze Marc Stecker, Lisa Emrich from Brass and Ivory, Diabetes Mine's Amy Tendrich, Dispatch From Second Base by Jackie Fox, and Dean from Dean's Stroke Musings.

Inside Health Care: Evidence Patient Safety Improves With a Checklist

CFAH Staff | February 8, 2011

Checklists are not just for rocket launches. Family doctor, Dr. Davis Liu, Rep. Giffords' trauma surgeon, Dr. Randall Friese, former hospital CEO, Dr. Paul Levy, and a fifth year medical student, Ishani Ganguli, post on the importance of using checklists to promote patient safety. A new British Medical Journal study agrees.

The Dilemma of Digital Mammography

Trudy Lieberman | February 7, 2011

The rapid changeover from traditional mammography'pictures taken with film'to the new digital imaging technology poses a thorny dilemma for women, especially those over 65. The scientific evidence suggests that digital mammography does not improve the detection of breast cancer in older women.

The Emergency Room and the Wait

Carrie Nelson | February 7, 2011

This is a HUGE problem. We have a lot of unnecessary hospital emergency department (ED) use in this country. Stories like this one in which a very ill child was kept waiting dangerously long to see the doctor are a natural consequence of ED overcrowding. You can blame the healthcare workers for not recognizing the severity of her illness. You can blame your doctor for those interminable waits on the phone that cause you to not even want to pick up the phone to request a same day appointment.

Prepared Patient: Side Effects: When Silence Isn't Golden

Health Behavior News Service | February 3, 2011

'I had a wonderful gentleman patient who had resistant blood pressure,' recalls Vicki Koenig, M.D., a retired family doctor in Exmore, VA. 'When he came for a blood pressure check on the latest new med and it was great, I was ecstatic. Then he said, 'But I notice my urine's a little dark.' His was one of the first cases of fatal liver complications from this medication.' Medication side effects are common'but when should you speak up?

Guest Blog: Overdiagnosis

Harriet Hall | February 3, 2011

Dr. H. Gilbert Welch has written a new book Over-diagnosed: Making People Sick in the Pursuit of Health, with co-authors Lisa Schwartz and Steven Woloshin. It identifies a serious problem, debunks medical misconceptions and contains words of wisdom. We are healthier, but we are increasingly being told we are sick. We are labeled with diagnoses that may not mean anything to our health. People used to go to the doctor when they were sick, and diagnoses were based on symptoms. Today diagnoses are increasingly made on the basis of detected abnormalities in people who have no symptoms and might never have developed them.

Guest Blog: The Beautiful Uncertainty of Science

Marya Zilberberg | February 2, 2011

I am so tired of this all-or-nothing discussion about science! On the one hand there is a chorus singing praises to science and calling people who are skeptical of certain ideas unscientific idiots. On the other, with equal penchant for eminence-based thinking, are the masses convinced of conspiracies and nefarious motives of science and its perpetrators. And neither will stop and listen to the other side's objections, and neither will stop the name-calling. So, is it any wonder we are not getting any closer to the common ground?

One Small Step for Patient-Centered Care, One Less Barrier to Engagement

Jessie Gruman | February 1, 2011

As far as my chemo nurse Olga* is concerned, I can do nothing right. She scolded me for sending an e-mail when she thought I should have called and vice versa. She scolded me for going home before my next appointment was scheduled. She scolded me for asking to speak to her personally instead of whichever nurse was available. She scolded me for calling my oncologist directly. She scolded me for asking whether my clinical information and questions are shared between my oncologist and the staff of the chemo suite. I could go on'