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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3 First Principles for Evaluating Patient-Facing HIT Solutions

Stephen Wilkins | May 30, 2013

In order to realize the full promise of patient-facing tools like EMRs, PHRs, patient portals and the like, we need to be more mindful of the following “first principles.”

Filling Out the Patient Chorus: Are We ONLY Victims, Heroes and Champions?

Jessie Gruman | May 29, 2013

Some of us are heroes, defiantly wearing stilettos to chemotherapy or battling our over-extended doctors to ferret out a cure for our or our mom’s disease. We want to demonstrate that with a ton of chutzpah, considerable energy and a little luck, we patients can overcome some of the limitations of health care and live to tell the tale. But is a portrait based solely on these types of experiences representative?

Rehabilitating the Image of the Emergency Room

Trudy Lieberman | May 29, 2013

Maligned over the last decade as places to avoid because of the price of the care they delivered, last week’s release of a study by the RAND Corporation goes a long way toward improving the image of hospital emergency rooms.

Patient Engagement? How About Doctor Engagement?

Carolyn Thomas | May 28, 2013

It’s a stressful time to be a patient these days, what with expectations running high that we should be both empowered and engaged while self-tracking every trackable health indicator possible – and of course retaining an all-important positive mental attitude – in order to change health care forever.

Are Patient Navigators Necessary? Or Just Nice?

Jessie Gruman | May 22, 2013

I know that each time I have received a cancer-related diagnosis, I felt like I had been drop-kicked into a foreign country: I didn't know the language, I didn't understand the culture, I didn't have a map and I desperately wanted to find my way home.

Latest Health Behavior News

Health Behavior News Service | May 22, 2013

This week in health news: Trauma care disparities persist for blacks | Calorie info on menus starts to have an effect | Soda in schools may lead black students to drink more | “Eat Fresh”? Not necessarily

Time’s “How to Cure Cancer” Cover – Worst of the Year?

Gary Schwitzer | May 20, 2013

That’s what journalist Seth Mnookin writes on Slate, stating, further, that it is “wrong, grandiose, and cruel.” He writes, “I haven’t found a single cancer researcher who believes this means we’re on the verge of curing cancer.”

Rationing Medications

Trudy Lieberman | May 15, 2013

In America, the conventional wisdom is that we don't ration health care. But we do, and there's no better example than patients rationing themselves when it comes to the medicines they take.

Is Patient Engagement a Set-Up for Failure?

Jessie Gruman | May 15, 2013

“Maybe we shouldn’t urge people to engage in their health care: it sets them up for failure and punishment from their clinicians.”

A senior patient advocate and researcher recently made this comment to a gathering of experts in patient engagement. For a few minutes, I was inclined to agree with her.

My Weekend as an Emergency Patient and What I Learned

Anne Polta | May 13, 2013

If you want to see what health care is really like, there’s no better way than by becoming a patient yourself. To paraphrase the wisdom of Dr. Seuss, “Oh, the things you’ll learn!”

How Easily We Can Misinterpret the Benefits of Patient-Centered Innovation!

Jessie Gruman | May 8, 2013

Here's the bad news: We will not benefit from the health care services, drugs, tests and procedures available to us unless we pay attention, learn about our choices, interact with our clinicians and follow through on the plans we make together.

Are We Finally Getting Closer to Price Transparency?

Trudy Lieberman | May 8, 2013

The revelations by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on Wednesday that hospitals vary widely in what they “charge” for the same procedure—sometimes as much as 10 or 20 times more than Medicare reimburses—confirms what health policy wonks have known for a long time. There’s no consistency in pricing for health care services…

‘Healthy Privilege’ – When You Just Can’t Imagine Being Sick

Carolyn Thomas | May 6, 2013

What I’ve learned since my heart attack is that, until you or somebody you care about are personally affected by a life-altering diagnosis, it’s almost impossible to really get what being sick every day actually means…

The Best Health Care Decision is Realizing That There Are Choices

Wendy Lynch | May 2, 2013

Perhaps the most powerful influence we can have in health care is simply acknowledging that we have choices and wondering, out loud, what those might be. Whether or not you plan to do in-depth research about your treatment options, consider asking your doctor three simple questions.

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.