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

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Why I Don't Like the Phrase 'Cancer Survivor'

Susan Fitzpatrick | August 1, 2013

Why is it that survivors of other devastating personal traumas – fires, floods, tornadoes – rarely use celebratory hero language? Mostly, they speak of themselves as lucky…

I Wish I Had Known Earlier...That For Many of Us, Symptoms and Late Effects Accumulate Rather Than Fade Over Time

Jessie Gruman | July 31, 2013

The side effects of cancer treatment sometimes fade but can become permanent glitches — disturbing symptoms whose impact we try to mitigate and whose presence we attempt to accommodate.

Patients Are Waiting to Partner: Invite Them to Participate

Tracy Granzyk | July 30, 2013

In a recent Baltimore Sun piece, healthcare writer Marie McCarren wrote an op-ed providing “A prescription for fewer medical errors” — reflections from an emergency room visit with her husband that later turned into a stay on the intensive care unit. McCarren emphasized the need for healthcare providers to work at clearly communicating the ways in which family members of patients can help make care safer.

What to Say to Someone Who Is Ill

Conversation Continues | July 30, 2013

It can be hard to find the right words to say to someone who has received a devastating diagnosis. Here are some suggestions from people who have been through it.

Even More Studies You Should Ignore

Albert Fuchs | July 29, 2013

Back when I was a medical student (in the Cretaceous Period) we were taught that someone once did a study comparing folic acid levels in the blood of cancer patients compared to the blood of healthy patients. The cancer patients had, on average, significantly lower folic acid levels. And the ones with the largest, fastest growing tumors tended to have the lowest folic acid levels. “Aha,” they thought. “Something about folic acid deficiency predisposes them to cancer. We should give folic acid to cancer patients.” Bad idea.

Latest Health Behavior News

Health Behavior News Service | July 26, 2013

This week in health news: Men opt for PSA test, despite guidelines | Obesity an added burden for people with disabilities | Minorities not getting mental health care | Economic downturns affect preventive care

Cumulative Burden: The Real Barrier to Adherence for Complex Patients?

Donna Cryer | July 26, 2013

Recently, I participated in an excellent meeting, (Patient Summit USA 2013), whose primary theme was patient adherence. Thankfully the other speakers had all moved beyond the notion that "patients forget to take their medication" and that adherence can be solved by fancy pill caps or bottles; yet I was struck that most did not yet fully appreciate the challenges of a complete adherence picture, particularly for patients on multiple therapies.

I Wish I Had Known Earlier...Not Every Oncologist Can or Should Deliver Survivorship Care

Jessie Gruman | July 24, 2013

We are not the only ones who must be convinced that we have unique health concerns following the active treatment of our cancer. Clinicians must also believe that special care for us is important, and they have to learn how to provide that care.

Patient Non-Adherence (Like Engagement) Is a Physician-Patient Communication Challenge – Not a Health Information Technology Challenge

Stephen Wilkins | July 23, 2013

Have you noticed all the articles in the health care press lately touting health information technologies’ ability to increase patient medication adherence? Smart phone-based apps, Smart pill bottles and Patient Portals are all about trying to get patients to do something (take a medication) which some physician somewhere has deemed to be the right thing for the patient to do. Some would call this process of generating adherence patient engagement.

Can You Choose Your Doctor? Well, Yes and No

Trudy Lieberman | July 23, 2013

The specter of loss of choice and freedom to select the doctor you want haunts again. This time it’s being raised on the airwaves with an ad from Americans for Prosperity…

Every Move You Make, the Patient Is Watching You

Anne Polta | July 22, 2013

Patients have a way of hanging onto every nonverbal cue they notice, no matter how small.

Why This Family Doctor Blogs and Writes

Davis Liu | July 18, 2013

As a doctor, I am compelled to write because of what I know is occurring with alarming frequency in our country. Americans are skipping needed and recommended care that could save their lives and allow them to live to their fullest. Patients are more distracted, as life is more complicated and busier than ever. Households have both parents working, sometimes two jobs, just to make ends meet.

I Wish I Had Known Earlier...How Fear Can Get in the Way of Cancer Survivorship Care

Jessie Gruman | July 17, 2013

A strong emotional response to cancer treatment is common, but I didn’t need to suffer so much or so long from my fears. The lingering intensity of those responses can affect whether and how we attend to the tasks of survivorship.

Why Everyone Deserves Palliative Care

Richard Besdine | July 16, 2013

Life is full of surprises, but statisticians tell us that most Americans who make it to age 65 can expect to live to almost 85, and about 1 in 4 will live past 90. Unfortunately, because palliative care is a relatively new specialty, it is often misunderstood by patients, families and even some physicians.

Patient-Centeredness Is the Intuitive Grasping of Health Care Quality

Aanand Naik | July 15, 2013

The key to improving the health outcomes of our older patients (and the overall quality of our healthcare system) is through re-investment in dialogue between patients and clinicians and a strengthening of trust within the patient-clinician relationship.

Choosing Hospitals Wisely (Is There Such a Thing?)

Leana Wen | July 11, 2013

Here’s a thought experiment presented a recent conference on healthcare consumer (ah hem, patient) advocacy. Let’s say that you’re told you need surgery of your knee. It’s an elective surgery to repair a torn knee ligament, the ACL. Your insurance covers part, but not all, of the cost. How do you choose which hospital to go to?

What I Wish I’d Known Earlier about Cancer Survivorship

Jessie Gruman | July 10, 2013

I have been treated for five different cancer diagnoses. Some would call me a cancer survivor. I call me lucky...

Who Wins or Loses from the Delay in the Employer Health Insurance Mandate?

Trudy Lieberman | July 10, 2013

It’s hard to say it was a surprise last week that the Obama administration delayed implementation of the employer mandate — that pillar of health reform requiring employers with more than 50 employees to provide health insurance or else pay a fine.

Latest Health Behavior News

Health Behavior News Service | July 9, 2013

This week in health news: Using shame to promote weight loss doesn’t work | Black nursing homes face challenges | Hispanic and Black children not getting the right asthma meds | Electronic health records not widespread

The Limits of Consumer Driven Health Care – A Trip to the Car Mechanic

Davis Liu | July 8, 2013

As health care becomes increasingly unaffordable, many believe quality would improve and costs would decrease if we treated health care like other consumer-driven markets...If only that were true...

Haggling for Health Care

Naomi Freundlich | July 2, 2013

I’m not a big fan of bargaining and my half-hearted attempts to get a better price for a used car, garage sale find or contractor’s service have been mostly unsuccessful. There’s always that nagging feeling that the seller is laughing with delight once I’m gone, thinking, “I really pulled one over on that rube!” And so it has come as somewhat of a shock to me that medical care has become the new garage sale, as far as haggling goes.

Consumer-Directed Health Isn’t Always So Healthy

Jane Sarasohn Kahn | July 1, 2013

Giving health consumers more skin in the game doesn’t always lead to them making sound health decisions.