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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Minimally Disruptive Health Care: Treatment that Fits

Marcus Escobedo | April 26, 2012

My mom has always worked hard'.Now on Medicare and about to retire after 30 years, she will have to continue working hard, as will my retired father. I'm not talking about the time they'll spend maintaining their home or raising grandchildren. I'm talking about the difficult work that they, like millions of others, grudgingly started as they began approaching 65 ' the work of managing their multiple chronic conditions.

Hospitals, Practice Administrators and Clinicians: You Gotta Learn to Love Patient Ratings

Jessie Gruman | April 25, 2012

You are increasingly being held accountable for the outcomes of the health care you deliver. Pay for performance; shared savings in ACOs; public report cards'the list of strategies to monitor and measure the effects of your efforts is lengthening. Many of you seem dismayed by the increased weight accorded to the patient experience of care ratings embedded in most of these programs.

Guest Blog: Illness is Not Discrete. On Feeling Sick, and Not Knowing What's Next

Elaine Schattner | April 25, 2012

A few days ago, the room around me started spinning. I wished I were Jack Kerouac , so it wouldn't matter if my thoughts were clear but that I tapped them out. Rat tat tat. Or Frank Sinatra with a cold. You'd want to know either of those guys, in detail. Up-close, loud, even breathing on you. You'd hire 'em. Because even when they're down, they're good. Handsome. Cool, slick, unforgettable. Illness doesn't capture or define them.

Guest Blog: When Families Clash During the Doctor Visit

Anne Polta | April 24, 2012

Family togetherness is usually a good thing, but sometimes it's a source of conflict, and new research suggests doctors can be slow to recognize when families disagree about the best course of care.

Employee Wellness Programs: The Carrot or the Stick?

Conversation Continues | April 23, 2012

Employee wellness programs can't work if employees don't participate. So, what's the motivation? Incentives or mandatory participation?

More on'Patient Navigators and Talking to Your Pharmacist

Conversation Continues | April 20, 2012

Two recent online posts build on topics we've explored on the Prepared Patient Forum previously. One on finding and using patient navigators/advocates, the other on making the most of your health care by working with your pharmacist.

Guest Blog: The Trouble with Trust

Barbara Bronson Gray | April 19, 2012

A good friend with a chronic healthcare condition has over the last few years had a series of invasive procedures that have still not solved her problems.

What's Engagement Now? Expert Kalahn Taylor-Clark Discusses Emerging Challenges

Kalahn Taylor Clark | April 18, 2012

I am interested in how public and private policy can make it possible for most people in this country to take good care of themselves.

What to Do About Long-Term Care Insurance

Trudy Lieberman | April 17, 2012

The decision to buy long-term-care insurance and how long to keep it is among the toughest people make as health-care consumers. The product is difficult to buy'confusing, complicated, and costly.

A Second Opinion from Dr. Google

Carolyn Thomas | April 16, 2012

I've often suspected that if only the E.R. doctor who misdiagnosed me with indigestion had bothered to just Google my cardiac symptoms (chest pain, nausea, sweating and pain radiating down my left arm), he and Dr. Google would have almost immediately hit upon my correct diagnosis.

Self-Efficacy, Part 1

Connie Davis | April 12, 2012

Self-efficacy is a very important concept in health care. It is nearly the same thing as self-confidence, or a belief that you can do something, like monitor mood, change eating habits and start being more physically active. It turns out that self-efficacy is linked to hospital utilization (low confidence = increased ER visits and days in hospital), to blood sugar control (low confidence = worse blood sugar control) and to changes in behavior.

Are Smartphones Changing What It Means to be Human?

Jessie Gruman | April 11, 2012

"Nagging is still nagging, whether it comes from your phone or your mom," says Jessie Gruman, a social psychologist who heads the Center for Advancing Health, a patient-advocacy group out of Washington, DC. in the recent Boston magazine article, Are Smartphones Changing What It Means to be Human?

Guest Blog: The Trees of Maine

Regina Holliday | April 11, 2012

I began painting at Maine Quality Counts Partnering with Patients: Finding the Bright Spots to Transform Care. The painting is entitled 'The Trees of Maine.'

Advance Directives: Rarely Easy, Always Important

Inside Health Care | April 10, 2012

Three essays discuss the critical importance of advance directives'even when implementing them is tricky.

Four Perfect Questions

Elaine Waples | April 9, 2012

I remember when my father-in-law passed away nine years ago. A nervous young doctor had the uncomfortable task of telling him that nothing more could be done about his leukemia and it was perhaps time for hospice.

Guest Blog: How to 'De-Frag' Your Health Care

Barbara Bronson Gray | April 6, 2012

If your computer has ever slowed way down you may have been advised to "defrag," which puts all parts of a file together in the same place on the drive, enabling it to run faster and more efficiently. In much the same way, your health care might need to be de-fragged.

Prepared Patient: How to Find and Use Health Insurance

Health Behavior News Service | April 5, 2012

Several years ago, DeAnn Friedholm had to shop for her own health insurance. The prospective insurance company discovered she had had a couple of benign tumors more than a decade before and so denied her coverage because of her preexisting condition. Just like that, Friedholm had no good option for insurance in case she needed to see a doctor. Whether you are like DeAnn with a preexisting condition, are new to shopping for insurance or trying to figure out what coverage you do have, there are resources to help with this often complicated but important purchase.

The Supreme Court's Health Care Decision and Your Pocketbook

Trudy Lieberman | April 5, 2012

Last week's drama at the Supreme Court and most of the media coverage that followed omitted crucial information: how a decision either upholding or junking the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will affect ordinary Americans. Because the health reform law is not well understood by most people, it's worth recapping what might happen.

What's Engagement Now? Expert Janet Heinrich Discusses Emerging Challenges

Janet Heinrich | April 4, 2012

Primary care is the entry point into health care for most people. It provides the continuity of care over the lifespan. From that standpoint, it is the most familiar, trusted experience people have with health care.

Defining Patient Engagement

Anne Polta | April 3, 2012

Everyone in health care is talking these days about patient engagement, but a funny thing happened on the way to the discussion: There doesn't seem to be a widely agreed-on definition of what this actually means.