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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I Want My Doctor to Care About Costs

Sarah Jorgenson | October 1, 2013

In a lecture hall of fellow clinicians-to-be, I was told that my job as a physician is not to be concerned with costs but rather to treat patients. What an odd message. Does medicine's unique role of saving lives exempt it from keeping an eye on the register?

What Would the Car Mechanic Say If You Didn't Look Sick?

Kelly Young | September 30, 2013

Imagine you take your car to a mechanic and he says, "Your car looks fine to me. The paint is still shiny. It's not very old." It just wouldn't happen. So why would a doctor say to someone with rheumatoid arthritis, "Your hands don't look too bad"...

Flu Shot Options: A Test of Patient Engagement?

Anne Polta | September 26, 2013

Talking about the flu vaccine used to be straightforward. But with the proliferation of vaccine options, it has become much more complicated. More options for consumers = better for everyone, right? Well...

What Is the Image of Illness in the Media? Does It Matter?

Jessie Gruman | September 25, 2013

Have you noticed that the images of most sick people on TV, in drug ads and on health insurance websites look pretty good? There is a big, diverse herd of us out here who are ill and who don't see our experience realistically portrayed by the media. So what?

Waiting. Again.

Lisa Bonchek Adams | September 24, 2013

The evil of "waiting" is well known among those with illnesses. We spend copious amounts of time in waiting rooms, exam rooms, lab offices. We wait for test results, scan results, to see if treatment is working. I'm in one of those waiting periods right now...

Expecting Great Beginnings – and Endings

Amy Berman | September 23, 2013

It tickles me to report that I live with incurable cancer and I am expecting. I am expecting that the cancer will take its toll, that I will need to make choices about my health and care, that I will need the support of my family and that I will need resources.

Latest Health Behavior News

Health Behavior News Service | September 20, 2013

In this weeks health news: Group exercise alleviates college stress | Maintain your weight in a matter of minutes | Education may be the key to fighting obesity | Men who binge at risk for cardiovascular disease.

Rethinking Survivorship in the Context of Illness

Elaine Schattner | September 19, 2013

When I was practicing oncology, I never thought much about the concept of survivorship. I was busy running a research lab and rounding on my hospital's inpatient oncology unit. Until I was diagnosed with cancer myself, I didn't really appreciate how blurry the line is between being a survivor and having the disease...

How Do We Know If the Price Is Right (If We Can't Find Out What the Price Is)?

Jessie Gruman | September 18, 2013

For most of us, the "cost" of health care isn't what brings us the most anxiety. It's when we're patients or helping a loved one find care that so many of us are deeply concerned about the price of our health care: what we – personally, individually – pay to acquire the services, drugs and devices we need...

Low Premiums, Narrow Networks and the Ideal of Consumer Choice

Trudy Lieberman | September 18, 2013

We want to have choices about the health care we get and who provides it. Many of us think we have that now...

Paying for and Managing Your Medications

Be a Prepared Patient | September 17, 2013

What people pay for medicine can vary widely. And a recent study found that 20% of Americans take five or more prescription medications. These 'Be a Prepared Patient' resources can help people pay for and manage their medications.

What Happens to the Other Half?

Paul Meyer | September 17, 2013

Only half of patients take the drugs as prescribed for them by their physicians. So what happens to the other half? And why does this costly problem continue despite efforts to improve patients’ adherence to prescription medications? There are many potential solutions, but not all of them are likely to become available...

Price Shopping Pharmacies Is the Key to Saving on Meds

Ali Khoshnevis | September 12, 2013

Sumanah was a 26-year-old event planner in New York City when she was suddenly diagnosed with congestive heart failure. After learning that some pharmacies can be upwards of 16 times more expensive than others, Sumanah was able to price shop for the right pharmacy and save a lot on her prescription costs. You can too...

Notes on Adherence: When Do I Feel Like a Patient?

Jessie Gruman | September 11, 2013

I'm always juggling more than one role, making second-to-second trade-offs depending on which is the most demanding at the moment. Becoming ill demands that we shift responsibilities around.

The Consumer's Ongoing Dilemma: Making Sense of Hospital Prices

Trudy Lieberman | September 10, 2013

Hospital charges are essentially like car sticker prices. Insurers use them as a starting point to negotiate what they actually will pay providers on their policyholders' behalf.

Patients Appreciate Good Front Office Staff

Conversation Continues | September 9, 2013

Health centers' front office staff are important members of the care team. They greet us when we arrive, make extra efforts to schedule appointments that fit our schedule, direct us to the right person when we call, and work to squeeze us in for those same day appointments. At least we hope they do...

Privacy? Not in My Doctor's Office

John Grohol | September 5, 2013

I’m not concerned about HIPAA. I’m concerned about how little my doctor cares for my privacy in his own office...I say my name, realizing that if someone is interested in identity theft, the check in process with the doctor’s front desk makes me a pretty easy target...

The Patient

Beth Nash | September 4, 2013

My doctor can help me figure out what is right for me by considering my values and preferences and helping me to understand the scientific evidence.

Finding Health Information You Can Trust

Be a Prepared Patient | September 3, 2013

A survey conducted in September 2012 by the Pew Research Center found that 72 percent of Americans had used the Internet in the past year to look for health information. Most of those people begin their search within a search engine like Google and end up with thousands of results. The hard part is figuring out which websites provide up-to-date and credible information.