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

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Comparative Effectiveness Research: Angela Ostrom of the Epilepsy Foundation of America®

Angela Ostrom | November 29, 2012

Epilepsy is a complex disease. An optimal quality of life and seizure control for the person with epilepsy – so that they can be a fully productive member of society – is our goal. Our main concern about CER and our constituents is that one treatment may provide a high quality of life with seizure control and few side effects for many but not for all patients.

When I Rated My Doctor

Trudy Lieberman | November 29, 2012

Recently, I spent some time answering the questions on one of those CAHPS surveys for doctors. CAHPS stands for Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems, and these days hospitals ask patients to use them to review not only their hospital experience but their experience with their doctors as well.

Getting a Prescription Refill: Hassles from My Health Plan

Val Jones | November 27, 2012

In a recent post entitled “The Joys of Health Insurance Bureaucracy” I described how it took me (a physician) over three months to get one common prescription filled through my new health insurance plan. Of note, I have still been unable to enroll in the prescription refill mail order service that saves my insurer money and (ostensibly) enhances my convenience.

True Informed Consent Is Elusive

Harriet Hall | November 26, 2012

Most of us would agree that doctors should not treat patients without their consent, except in special cases like emergency care for an unconscious patient. It’s not enough for doctors to ask “Is it OK with you if I do this?”

Latest Health Behavior Research News

Health Behavior News Service | November 21, 2012

This week in health news: more active transportation needed, caregivers at risk for cardiovascular disease, divorce brings loss of health insurance for many women, and retail clinics disrupt primary care.

Comparative Effectiveness Research: Donna Cryer of the American Liver Foundation

Donna Cryer | November 20, 2012

Patients are not opposed to comparative effectiveness research. I think they understand its value to health care decision-making. But physician-scientists and policymakers rightly perceive the inherent tension between personalized medicine and CER.

When it's Time to Drop Your Medicare Advantage Plan

Trudy Lieberman | November 20, 2012

Currently, Medicare Advantage sellers are engaged in heavy marketing due to the MA open enrollment period that ends on December 7th. The ads don't say much but give enough clues to tip you off that you must ask lots of questions and dig deep to find out what you're getting.

The Ten Worst Hospital Design Features: A Family Member's Perspective

Val Jones | November 19, 2012

A few months ago, I spent 8 days in the hospital at the bedside of a loved one. Although I squirmed the whole way through a tenuous ICU course and brief stop-over in a step-down unit, it was good for me to be reminded of what it feels like to be a patient - or at least the family member of one - in the hospital.

Study: '91% discharged from hospital without care plan'

Carolyn Thomas | November 15, 2012

When I was discharged from hospital following my heart attack, I was wheelchaired down to the front door, patted on the head, and waved off with a small pile of brochures and a follow-up appointment in six weeks'?? time.

Comparative Effectiveness Research: Perry Cohen of Parkinson Pipeline Project

Perry Cohen | November 14, 2012

It would be nice to know if a treatment is totally worthless or that there are truly horrible side effects to a treatment or that a treatment really won't help slow the disease or relieve the symptom it's aimed at.

When You Really Learn about Hospital Infections

Trudy Lieberman | November 13, 2012

One of the greatest risks I faced from surgery to repair a macular hole in my eye was from a hospital acquired infection. But when I tried to find data on the performance of various hospitals in New York City, there were no ratings for Manhattan Eye, Ear & Throat where I would have my surgery.

100 Million Without Dental Care

Trudy Lieberman | November 12, 2012

Every year, over 100 million Americans don’t go to the dentist because they can’t afford it, leaving many in pain. How can people pay for dental care?

More Money, More Time: Will that Improve Physician-Patient Communications?

Stephen Wilkins | November 8, 2012

I don’t think so, and here’s why. I have yet to meet a physician who did not agree with the importance of effective physician-patient communication…in principle.

Comparative Effectiveness Research: Arthur Levin of the Center for Medical Consumers

Arthur Levin | November 7, 2012

We're trying to figure out if CER is just more of the same. Health policy has a love affair with old wine in new bottles, that is, rebranding old solutions with new acronyms. Because patient-centered care and engagement are fashionable at the moment, is PCOR merely a way to dress up CER to be more exciting and attractive (or palatable)?

Patient Satisfaction: Quality, Cost and the New Rules of Engagement

Holly Korda | November 6, 2012

It's not enough for patients to be merely satisfied with their health care. Our expectations and perceptions of the patient experience vary widely, but at the end of the day what we seek is health care that is patient-centered: care that meets our needs. Patient-centered care requires patient engagement and self-efficacy, our active participation in our health and disease management.

Our Caregiver Reality Check

Amy Berman | November 1, 2012

Who cares for our ill, our aged, our vulnerable? Is it physicians, nurses, social workers, aides? Or is it perhaps another member of the health care team? The largest portion of health care is delivered by families.