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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The True Grit-tiness of Sharing Health Care Decisions with Our Doctors

Jessie Gruman | May 1, 2013

In the Coen brothers remake of the 1969 movie True Grit, Mattie Ross, an intrepid 14-year-old, is determined to hunt down and kill the man who murdered her father. To accomplish this, she hires U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn, (played by a mumbling Jeff Bridges) a rough, one-eyed veteran of many such quests then announces that she plans to come along. She figures she is prepared.

Is “Guaranteed Coverage for Life” in the Cards for Medicare Seniors?

Trudy Lieberman | May 1, 2013

A few days ago, Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield sent me one of those Medigap sales brochures that seniors usually expect during the fall open enrollment season.

Latest Health Behavior News

Health Behavior News Service | April 25, 2013

Brought to you by CFAH’s Health Behavior News Service: Depressed teens have rocky twenties | Gym benefits, yes. Extra costs, no thanks | Church goers look to ministry for health advice | Just say no to smoking in public housing

Bad Language: Words One Patient Won't Use (and Hopes You Won't Either)

Jessie Gruman | April 24, 2013

When I read Trudy Lieberman’s post yesterday, I was reminded that the highly charged political debates about reforming American health care have provided tempting opportunities to rename the people who receive health services. But because the impetus for this change has been prompted by cost and quality concerns of health care payers, researchers and policy experts rather than emanating from us out of our own needs, some odd words have been called into service.

Is Health Care One Gigantic Consumer Problem?

Trudy Lieberman | April 23, 2013

One could easily make a case that health care is today’s biggest consumer problem—not unlike those that sparked the consumer movement of the 1960s and 70s. Back then, consumer issues centered on problems with using credit, buying cars and home improvement services, and obtaining the best price for food, appliances, and just about every other new-fangled and expensive product that sprang from the post-war economy.

Whose Patient Engagement Goals Are We Talking About?

Jessie Gruman | April 17, 2013

What we look for when we participate actively in our health care differs from what our clinicians, employers and health plans believe will result when we shift from being passive to active participants. We don't have the same goals in mind. Does this matter?

How the President’s Medicare Proposals Affect Seniors’ Pocketbooks

Trudy Lieberman | April 16, 2013

The president’s budget proposals released last week call for more seniors to pay more money for their Medicare benefits. While the president’s plan to require beneficiaries to pay higher premiums came as no surprise to Washington insiders, it probably was to people who will feel the pinch.

Getting My Photo Taken at a Medical Appointment

Elaine Schattner | April 15, 2013

A funny thing hap­pened at my doctor’s appointment on Friday. I checked in, then a med-tech asked if she could take my picture, “for the hos­pital record.” I couldn’t contain my won­dering self. “What is the purpose of the picture?” I asked.

The Truth about Those High Patient Satisfaction Scores for Doctor-Patient Communication

Stephen Wilkins | April 11, 2013

The problem with satisfaction data related to doctor-patient communication is that, at face value, it simply doesn’t correlate with other published data on the subject. There is a disconnect between what patients say in satisfaction surveys and what happens in actual practice. Here’s what I mean…

Has Patient Engagement Stalled?

Jessie Gruman | April 10, 2013

A few discouraging reports on patient engagement have skittered across my desk in the past few weeks. What's going on? Why are so many of us so slow to engage in our care when it is increasingly clear that we will do better if we participate more fully? Here's what I suspect...

Is Health Insurance Sticker Shock for Real?

Trudy Lieberman | April 9, 2013

Wherever you turn, there are complaints about health insurance rates. A Pennsylvania woman tells me her monthly premium will soon be $100 more than it used to be. A New Yorker finds the premium for retiree coverage rising 24 percent...

Self-Tracking Tech Revolution? Not So Fast…

Carolyn Thomas | April 8, 2013

When the report called "Tracking for Health" was released last month, media headlines announced: “Over Two-Thirds Track Health Indicators!” Surprisingly, very few headlines ran the real news from the report: “Only 21% Use Technology to Self-Track!” Yet as of last autumn, more than 500 tech companies are busy developing The Next Big Thing in self-tracking tools.

Health Care Consumers Are Compromised By Complex Information

Jane Sarasohn Kahn | April 4, 2013

Americans have embraced their role as consumers in virtually every aspect of life: making travel plans, trading stock, developing photos, and purchasing goods like cars and washing machines. That is, in every aspect of life but health care.

What Do I Tweet – and Why?

Jessie Gruman | April 3, 2013

Who would have thought that Twitter, this tiny aperture – a mere 140 characters – could connect me with so many smart, feisty, tough people who share, amplify, and improve on my efforts to spread carefully chosen health and health care content through their responses, retweets, modified tweets and acknowledgements? Here’s why I tweet what I tweet...

Whatever Happened to Underuse of Medical Services?

Trudy Lieberman | April 2, 2013

Twelve years ago, in its landmark study Crossing the Quality Chasm, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) found that “the health care industry is plagued with overutilization of services, underutilization of services, and errors in health care practice.” In simple English, the IOM reported that health care was riddled with overuse, underuse and misuse of medical services.

Patient Activation Is Only Half the Solution – Physicians Need to Be Activated as Well

Stephen Wilkins | April 1, 2013

Focusing just on what the patient brings to the party in terms of their “knowledge, skills and confidence” is only half the problem. What about physician activation?