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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What's Engagement Now? Expert Carol Cronin Discusses Emerging Challenges

Carol Cronin | February 1, 2012

Most people still assume that they don't need to worry about the quality of the care they receive, whether it is from a doctor, in a hospital or in a nursing home. It's pretty frightening to realize that you do have to care about it, because it means you have to assume the burden. If quality does vary, you have to do the research. This is hard to deal with when you are upset.

Guest Blog: Super Bowl Sanitation: "Washed Up" Giants Outpoint Docs

Michael Millenson | January 31, 2012

Is the New York Giants bathroom more sanitary than your hospital room? Could be. And that player cleanliness may even have helped send the team to the Super Bowl.

Cash Rewards from Your Health Plan

Trudy Lieberman | January 30, 2012

Harvard Pilgrim Health Care has moved deeper into the business of transforming health care into a commodity governed by the rules of the marketplace. Plan members can get cash rewards'.if they use facilities for outpatient medical procedures and diagnostic testing recommended by the health plan, not their doctors.

Guest Blog: Old Public Health Guy's Plea: Don't Wear Your Headphones All the Time

Douglas Kamerow | January 27, 2012

I propose that people stop wearing headphones when they are out in public...More serious than harming your hearing...it appears that earphone use in public can actually endanger your life.

The Price of Paperwork

Inside Health Care | January 26, 2012

It's said that time is money. In this case, health care insiders argue that Americans and U.S. health insurers are spending too much of both.

What Are the Chances We Need to Understand Probability?

Jessie Gruman | January 25, 2012

We are all going to have to become tougher and smarter, even when we are sick if we are going to benefit from the health care available to us. What is it that we really need to know to do this successfully?

How Much Does it Cost to Have a Baby?

Kenny Lin | January 24, 2012

My wife and I are expecting our third child, and our new insurance plan requires us to pay 20% coinsurance for all non-preventive care. Given the rapid rate of health care inflation, we thought it prudent to find out how much it would cost this time around. So, we asked for an estimate of the charges. It seemed like a reasonable enough request'

Guest Blog: 10 Sex Tips for Better Looking Health Insurance

Michael Millenson | January 23, 2012

It's always interesting to watch health reform concepts move from policy shops and peer-reviewed papers into the mainstream. Provider report cards have surfaced in venues as diverse as Martha Stewart Living and The Examiner, a supermarket tabloid that promised to reveal 'America's 50 Best Hospitals.'

Revisiting Those Explanations of Benefits

Trudy Lieberman | January 19, 2012

Katie Ryan-Anderson, a health reporter at the Jamestown Sun in Jamestown, North Dakota, had a question. What did all that gobbledygook on the Explanation of Benefits (EOBs) from Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota mean?

What's Engagement Now? Expert Gail Hunt Discusses Emerging Challenges

Gail Hunt | January 18, 2012

This interview with Gail Hunt is the first in a series of brief chats between CFAH president and founder, Jessie Gruman, and health care experts'among them our CFAH Board of Trustees'who have devoted their careers to helping people find good health care and make the most of it.

The Persistence of Medical Error

Conversation Continues | January 17, 2012

The hospital can be a frightening place without having to worry about common medical errors that can complicate your treatment and recovery. Why do so many hospitals still struggle to prevent medical errors, how do they happen, and what's the solution?

Opening Up the Doctor's Notebook

Anne Polta | January 13, 2012

If you could see what your doctor wrote about you in your medical record, would this hurt or enhance your relationship? A new survey found that the majority of patients more than 90 percent are supportive and even enthusiastic about being able to read the doctor's notes. But among physicians, the reaction was mixed.

1st Person: Small Steps: Adapting to New Technology for Better Health

First Person | January 12, 2012

Joan Reder, a person with diabetes, spends her days working as a medical transcriptionist, so you might assume she'd be pretty comfortable with anything involving medicine. But recently, the 59 year-old was faced with the daunting prospect of converting from her familiar daily insulin injections to an insulin pump, which would continuously monitor her blood glucose and deliver insulin to her body when needed.

Prepared Patient: Small Steps to Big Health Change

Health Behavior News Service | January 12, 2012

The task of changing our routine behaviors and habits ' even those that may be important for our health ' can seem overwhelming. No wonder: habits become habits because they give us something we think we need. Maybe they make us feel better or they bring comfort, familiarity or convenience to our lives. We also worry that we won't be successful. It turns out, the key to lasting behavior change is taking small steps.

Lessons from the Year of Living Sick-ishly

Jessie Gruman | January 11, 2012

The new year set me reflecting about what I've learned about being sick over the past 12 months that only the experience itself could teach me. You know that old Supremes song, 'You Can't Hurry Love'? I learned that you can't necessarily hurry healing either, even if you work hard at it.

A New Year and a New Big Picture Look at Weight Loss?

Inside Health Care | January 9, 2012

With New Years resolutions still fresh, weight loss is all over the news, and many Americans' minds are firmly resolved to lose weight. However, their bodies and fast food restaurants may be equally determined that they fail.

Prepared Patient: Using Physician Rating Websites

Health Behavior News Service | January 2, 2012

User reviews and ratings on websites can help you locate a reputable handyman, the perfect restaurant for your anniversary dinner or the right TV for your den. So why wouldn't you turn to the Internet to find your next doctor? New health review sites promise to help you make this important decision for yourself or your loved ones. However, patients and physicians alike are finding that these doctor reviews aren't as transparent or useful as they might seem.