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

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Prepared Patient: Watchful Waiting: When Treatment Can Wait

Health Behavior News Service | January 1, 2013

In today'??s fast-paced world, waiting '?? whether it'??s at the doctor'??s office, in line at the grocery store or for an Internet connection '?? is rarely considered a good thing. But when it comes to certain medical conditions, delaying treatment while regularly monitoring the progress of disease '?? a strategy doctors refer to as '??watchful waiting,'?? active surveillance or expectant management '?? may benefit some patients more than a rush to pharmaceutical or surgical options.

Prepared Patient: Advance Directives: Caring for You & Your Family

Health Behavior News Service | December 31, 2012

Heather Rubesch first remembers talking with her mom, Linda, about end-of-life care as a teenager. "When I was 14, I had an aunt who passed because she did not receive a kidney transplant. As a family, we had that conversation-if something happened to one of us, organ donation was what we wanted to do," said Rubesch, 37, a business and marketing writer from Kansas City, Mo. Decades later, when Heather got the call from the hospital, informing her of her mother's terminal condition, she was shocked to discover she was expected to make immediate decisions about her mother's end-of-life care.

Prepared Patient: The Handoff: Your Roadmap to a New Doctors Care

Health Behavior News Service | December 29, 2012

It could be a broken wrist, or a life-altering battle with cancer, but sooner or later most patients run up against the diagnosis that sends them from their primary care doctor's care into the hands of a new physician. In medical circles, this transition is called the "handoff" '?? a casual name that conceals the complications and risks of this journey.

Prepared Patient: Making a Pact With Your Doctors

Health Behavior News Service | December 28, 2012

Being a prepared patient means taking on some of the jobs 'big and small' that are necessary for staying healthy and coping will illness. Just like with any other job, it helps to have the job description clearly laid out before you start work. Your doctor may be expecting you to do certain tasks from filling prescriptions to changing your sleep or diet that can help you make the most of your care.

Prepared Patient: Goodbye, Acute Care, Hello, Rehab

Health Behavior News Service | December 27, 2012

After a person receives acute care in a "regular" hospital for catastrophic illness, traumatic injury or a debilitating chronic condition, the next step in the process of recovery often involves a stay at an inpatient rehabilitation, or rehab, facility.

Prepared Patient: On Your Own With Multiple Meds

Health Behavior News Service | December 26, 2012

People with chronic illness often struggle to manage several prescribed drugs at a time. It's overwhelming when the vials, bottles and inhalers bulge from your medicine cabinet and you're confused about which drug is which, or when to take what.

Prepared Patient: Reducing Your Risk of Medical Errors

Health Behavior News Service | December 25, 2012

Recovering from a knee replacement is difficult under the best of circumstances, but for Herminia Briones, the year following her surgery was filled with unexpected pain, complications and confusion. Her repeated attempts to draw attention to her problems went unheeded, beginning an unfortunate and not uncommon struggle with medical error. Why do medical errors happen and how can you help protect yourself from harm?

Prepared Patient: Chronic Conditions: When Do You Call the Doctor?

Health Behavior News Service | December 24, 2012

The signs are everywhere - prescriptions doled out into weekly reminder boxes, blood glucose monitors in a desk drawer, maybe even an adrenaline injection pen stashed in a diaper bag for allergy emergencies. From high cholesterol to HIV, millions of Americans have a medical condition that they manage mostly on their own.

Latest Health Behavior Research News

Health Behavior News Service | December 21, 2012

What's happening in health news: Doctors getting printed reminders and learning to communicate better with patients, young women aren't completing the 3-dose HPV vaccine, and socio-economic factors impact trust in health care providers.

Comparative Effectiveness Research: Joyce Dubow of AARP

Joyce Dubow | December 19, 2012

We need to do better if we want people to have high-quality care that is provided in a way that is safe and makes the best use of scarce health care resources. CER that is relevant, timely and rigorous is fundamental to achieving these objectives.

Is Raising the Age for Medicare Benefits a Good Idea?

Trudy Lieberman | December 18, 2012

The twists and turns of recent political conversations over the federal deficit have explored a variety of changes to Medicare. The most likely ones are raising the eligibility age for benefits to 67 from 65.

Comparative Effectiveness Research: David Shern, Past President and CEO of Mental Health America

David Shern | December 12, 2012

When we started focusing on CER, the big concern was the head-to-head trials of drugs and devices and the naive application of their findings to insurance reimbursement policies. Our ultimate fear was that access to medications would be restricted.

When You Fear Being Labeled a “Difficult” Patient

Carolyn Thomas | December 10, 2012

Most patients know what this feels like, so it’s reassuring to learn that academics are actually studying it: our fear of being labeled a “difficult patient”.

Comparative Effectiveness Research: Richard Birkel of the Center for Healthy Aging & NCOA

Richard Birkel | December 5, 2012

We believe that CER can be a valuable strategy to improve health care'?¦We are concerned, however, that older adults have often been excluded from clinical trials of drugs, medical devices and procedures.

When Patients & Doctors have Different Priorities

Inside Health Care | December 5, 2012

After discovering that one of his patients had a pre-cancerous polyp, Dr. Michael Kirsch recommended a surgical consult to discuss removal. The man’s answer was one that Dr. Kirsch will never forget. The patient said he would certainly speak with the surgeon, but not until four months later. Why? Because he didn’t want to miss golf season. Musing about priorities, Dr. Kirsch writes, “We physicians need to remind ourselves that patients make the decisions, even though we often believe that we have the right answers.”

The Government Wants Seniors Out of Bad Medicare Plans

Trudy Lieberman | December 5, 2012

Even though open enrollment closes this week for some 47 million seniors who can change their Medicare coverage arrangements for next year, the federal government is extending the deadline for certain people. Who are the lucky ones?