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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Prepared Patient: Do I Have to Go to the Dentist? Oral Health Starts Early

Health Behavior News Service | June 28, 2012

Many of us have vivid memories of tying a thread to a loose tooth and wiggling it back and forth with our tongue all the time hoping for a profitable visit from the Tooth Fairy. Facebook is full of school and family photos of kids with cute, gap-toothed smiles. But increasingly, children are losing their baby teeth not due to the budding of their permanent teeth but to the ravages of early decay and cavities. There are a number of reasons kids and adults don't make it to the dentist regularly. For some parents, it's a lack of understanding about the importance of oral health, even at an early age.

"But You Don't Look Sick" and Other Silly Remarks

Patient Perspectives | June 28, 2012

It can be offensive and hurtful when someone asks a well-meaning, but otherwise insensitive, question to someone who has an illness. Here, Kelly Young, Allison Blass and Andrew Schorr offer their responses.

Selling Dental Services Like Chevrolets

Trudy Lieberman | June 27, 2012

Mailers from a New York City dentist piqued my interest last week offering zero percent financing ' the same come-on that car manufacturers have used for years to entice you to buy Chevys and Toyotas.

Six Things Patients Want from Social Media

Jessie Gruman | June 27, 2012

A few weeks ago, I spoke at the Connecting Healthcare + Social Media conference in New York about what we patients want from health social media. Michelle McNickle, New Media Producer for Healthcare IT News wrote the following piece summarizing my talk and the '6 things patients want from social media.'

Shying Away From Talking About Risks

Elaine Schattner | June 26, 2012

Recently, I wrote a piece in The Atlantic about how doctors and patients talk about the risks of chemotherapy (or not), including the risks of causing another form of cancer. If you get chemotherapy, you have the right to know about these risks, and to ask your doctor about them.

Guest Blog: The App Gap: Why Baby Boomers Won't Use Most Smart Phone Apps

Val Jones | June 25, 2012

Along with the invention of smart phones, an entire medical mobile application (app) industry has cropped up, promising patients enhanced connectivity, health data collection, and overall care quality at lower costs...For all the hype about robo-grannies, aging in place technologies, and how high tech solutions will reduce healthcare costs, the reality is that these hopes are unlikely to be achieved with the baby boomer generation.

How to Find a (Good) Doctor

Conversation Continues | June 22, 2012

While the benefits of having (and keeping) a good physician may be evident, how do you find this just-right-for-you clinician?

The Psychology of the Surgical Waiting Room: Personal Observations and Adventures in Waiting

Kevin Campbell | June 21, 2012

After being on the 'other side' of medicine, Kevin R. Campbell, M.D., experienced the stressors of waiting for someone going through surgery and has learned ways to improve his practices as a clinician to help make the experience less worrisome for loved ones.

A Physician's Perspective on Shifting to Palliative Care: Help Us Change our Pace

Jessie Gruman | June 20, 2012

Last week's essay, Shifting to Palliative Care: Help Us Change our Pace, provoked the following commentary from my friend and colleague, James Cooper -- to which I responded.

Uncomfortable with being Comfortable

Chris Gibbons | June 19, 2012

Fitness maven Jeanette Jenkins recently tweeted that to see big results you have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. In other words, making change happen, inevitably leads to emotional or physical discomfort. If you are serious about change you must be willing to endure a lot of discomfort.

Do Hospital Ratings Matter?

Trudy Lieberman | June 18, 2012

Another hospital report card showed up last week adding to the pile of ratings already available. A few years ago there were more than one hundred offered by various for-profit and not-for-profit businesses and government agencies. The newest one is the Hospital Safety Score report card from the Leapfrog Group...

A Recommendation to Minimize Costs Backfires

Alexis Ball | June 15, 2012

My mom passed away last December to Stage V breast cancer metastasized to her liver. During this battle she developed ascites (an accumulation of fluid in the peritoneal cavity) as her liver failure progressed. This accumulation of fluid was not only extremely uncomfortable but painful as well.

Banning the Big Gulp: Bold Initiative or Bad Idea?

Inside Health Care | June 14, 2012

"Who should be responsible for the health of Americans?" "What's the best way to break society's bad habits?" Questions like these poured in following New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's recent proposal to ban sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces.

Shifting to Palliative Care: Help Us Change our Pace

Jessie Gruman | June 13, 2012

It is easy to understand why the medical machine the clinicians, the tests and assorted medical procedures is poised to provide constant often heroic interventions to save and prolong life.

Guest Blog: The End of Life Horror Show: We Can Do Better

Chris Langston | June 12, 2012

Recently, New York Magazine published an agonizing first person cover story by Michael Wolff, 'A Life Worth Ending,' about the terrible choices and harsh reality of illness at the end of his mother's life. The summary slug for the piece says it all: 'The era of medical miracles has created a new phase of aging, as far from living as it is from dying. A son's plea to let his mother go.'

Guest Blog: Old Puzzles, Busy Guys and New Science

Elaine Waples | June 11, 2012

I am a two year cancer survivor, in remission, feeling good, and focusing on a quality of life that I perhaps took all too much for granted in the past. But like all cancer survivors, I worry about what may be happening inside my body...

Guest Blog: How Much Does It Cost to Have an Appendectomy?

Kenny Lin | June 7, 2012

A few years ago, a good friend of mine who holds bachelor's and law degrees from Ivy League schools lost his job and became one of the estimated 50 million medically uninsured persons in the U.S. Over the course of several days, he developed increasingly severe abdominal pain, fever, and vomiting.

More Confusion about Those Insurance EOBs. This Time from Medicare

Trudy Lieberman | June 6, 2012

People have a right to receive in plain language a summary of what doctors bill, what insurers pay and how much they themselves must pay.

The Insidious Power of (d-i-s)-R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Jessie Gruman | June 6, 2012

It's difficult to imagine that professionals working in a practice or department or unit where they are constrained by their own colleagues misbehavior are going to have the energy to invite us to learn about and share in decisions about our treatment...

Guest Blog: High Health Cost Does Not Guarantee Quality

Toni Brayer | June 4, 2012

The new buzzword in Medicine these days is "value based purchasing". It's not a new concept...everyone wants to get their money's worth, whether it is a new car, a meal at a fancy restaurant or the best medical care. Without clear information on quality, however, many patients assume that more expensive care is better care.

Guest Blog: Dangers of Uncoordinated Care: A Son Reflects on His Father's Passing

Neil Versel | June 1, 2012

Neil Versel shares his personal experience of his dad's passing and the lack of quality of care that he received at one hospital contrasted with well-managed care at another facility. He wants to educate as many people about the disease his father had (multiple system atrophy), the dangers of uncoordinated care and poorly designed workflows.