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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Healthy Eating...Help!

CFAH Staff | November 27, 2013

It isn't breaking news that exercising and eating a healthy diet can help improve your overall health and fitness, but that doesn't make it any easier for most of us to follow suit. These resources from CFAH's 'Be a Prepared Patient' can help...

Should Patients Be Responsible for Physician Hand-Washing?

David Williams | November 26, 2013

For the past few years I’ve heard suggestions that patients should take a more active role in their health care by asking doctors to wash their hands. I strongly disagree...

Fixing the Technological Fix

Daniel Callahan | November 25, 2013

Perhaps like many of my age, I am not captivated by a number of much-touted technological innovations, increasing choices I don’t desire and fulfilling needs I didn’t realize I had. My nervous reaction to Personal Health System Technology is that of the distancing of patients from doctors, adding still another barrier between doctors and patients, and in the seductive name of their medical welfare.

For Many People with Diabetes, Lifestyle Changes Trump Medications

Milly Dawson | November 21, 2013

Three key patient engagement themes emerged from this year's 'Diabetes + Innovation 2013' conference in Washington, D.C., organized by Joslin Diabetes Center at Harvard Medical School...

Do “Experts” Value Patient and Family Input?

Jessie Gruman | November 20, 2013

Current efforts to make health care more "patient-centered" include inviting some of us to advise on research priorities, care organization and delivery under the assumption that, as patients, we understand what patient-centered outcomes and care are. What do patients know about the inner workings of health care, after all?

Reducing Obesity: It Takes a Village

Trudy Lieberman | November 20, 2013

During my recent visit to Canada, I had a chance to meet obesity expert and medical director of Canada's Bariatric Medicine Institute, Dr. Yoni Freedhoff. What he had to say was somewhat surprising...

The Costs of Being a Patient and a Doctor

Jane Liu | November 19, 2013

My ultrasound came back "likely benign" with the recommendation that I follow up in six weeks to be sure. Over the next few weeks, I received one bill after another that totaled $1,000. Unable to pay, I felt abandoned by the system to which I had committed my career and did not call to schedule a second ultrasound...

The Language of Health Care

Anne Polta | November 18, 2013

That "s.o.b." abbreviation in your chart doesn't indicate what you think it does. Health care has a language all its own consisting of ordinary words used in ways that convey certain shades of meaning. And sometimes they reinforce the paternalism and power imbalance that have historically existed between health care professionals and their patients.

Medical Jargon: Do You Need a Translator?

Carolyn Thomas | November 14, 2013

A distressingly large number of people who have the letters M.D. after their names answer our health questions in such jargon-heavy ways that it makes our situation even more confusing. Time for a SMOG check – aka the "Simple Measure of Gobbledygook."

Evidence Is Only One Data Point in Our Treatment Decisions

Jessie Gruman | November 13, 2013

I'm concerned that the frantic drive toward evidence-based medicine as a strategy for quality improvement and cost reduction sets clinicians and patients up for a conflict about our shared picture of health care.

The Great Canadian Experiment to House the Homeless

Trudy Lieberman | November 13, 2013

At Home/Chez Soi, a Canadian program for the mentally ill, is built on the concept that providing housing is the first order of business. An approach that reinforces the truism that good health is more than swallowing the latest wonder drug.

Doctors Don't Know What We Won't Tell Them

Colleen Crone | November 12, 2013

I'd said, "I know this isn't a big deal," when I meant "This is really bothering me." To be truly engaged patients, we have to give ourselves permission to say what we really mean.

The Hard-Hitting Truth About Sports Concussions

Conversation Continues | November 11, 2013

Final scores, rankings and rivalries aren't the only fall football traditions getting news coverage this season. Rates, effects and what to do about concussions are in the spotlight too.

Patient Engagement: On Meaning and Metrics

Leslie Kernisan | November 7, 2013

What is patient engagement? Everyone agrees it's a good thing and that health care providers should be fostering it. How to do so, however, depends on what you believe the term means. I offer a new definition...

This Doctor Treats Poverty Like a Disease

Trudy Lieberman | November 6, 2013

What would you think if your doctor handed you a prescription that recommended filing your tax returns or applying for food stamps instead of the usual medicines for high blood pressure or diabetes...

We Are the New (Free) Health Care Workforce

Jessie Gruman | November 6, 2013

Outsourcing work to cheaper workers is a common strategy of corporations. It has largely escaped the public’s notice, however, that much of this new labor force isn't located in Southeast Asia, but is rather found here in the U.S. and is virtually free. It is us...

How to Help a Young Caregiver

Tarah Knaresboro | November 4, 2013

I know a young woman who serves as the primary caregiver for her mother. Watching her put everything on hold to take the helm is both inspiring and heartbreaking. With her stamp of approval, here are ten tips for anyone out there trying to support a caregiver.