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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Pills. Lotsa, Lotsa Pills.

John Schumann | January 31, 2014

Ever get confused over the names of medicines? I do. There's Zantac. And Xanax. Zanaflex; Zaleplon. Every drug has (at least) two names – this is a recipe for disaster...

The Limits of Physician Referral in Finding a New Doctor

Jessie Gruman | January 29, 2014

I've always assumed that the best way to find a new doctor or specialist – preferably within my health plan – was to rely on the advice of a doctor whom I know and trust, who knows my health history and understands what kind of expertise my condition requires. Recently, I have come to question that assumption...

Do Patients Care How Much Money Their Doctors Make?

Trudy Lieberman | January 28, 2014

I am all for transparency when it comes to health care. So when Medicare announced a few weeks ago that it would begin to tell the public how much doctors are paid to treat Medicare patients, my first thought was "hooray." Still, I keep returning to the question: What will the data do for the average person?...

Sticking With Resolutions Is All About Preparation

David L. Katz | January 27, 2014

Relevant research and conventional wisdom alike suggest that, despite their irresistible perennial tug on our collective conscience, New Year's resolutions generally have about the staying power of Champagne bubbles. In contrast, the science of sustainable behavior change tips convincingly toward "don't go until ready."

Welcome Shifts in Primary Care

CFAH Staff | January 23, 2014

What exactly is primary care? There have been a number of news stories lately that point to shifts in its traditional definitions and in what patients can (or should) expect to receive from primary care providers...

What Do I Tweet – and Why?

Jessie Gruman | January 22, 2014

Twitter has figured prominently in the heated discussion about Emma and Bill Keller's respective editorials about Lisa Bonchek Adams. I have followed Lisa for a long time and greatly admire her thoughtful, highly personal tweets about the ups and downs of what it takes for her to face the challenges of metastatic breast cancer. In comparison, I am a different type of tweeter, posting a weekday stream of tweets aimed at addressing generally the subject that Lisa talks about so personally: finding and making the best possible use of health care...

Tiered Insurance Networks: Complicating Obamacare or Controlling Costs?

Trudy Lieberman | January 21, 2014

Last fall, a Pennsylvania woman, frustrated by the snags and snafus of healthcare.gov, turned to the website of Independence Blue Cross, the biggest insurance carrier in Southeastern Pennsylvania, to make sense of her health insurance choices...

NBC Vastly Exaggerates the Potential Benefits of Lung Cancer Screening

Gary Schwitzer | January 16, 2014

When we talk about a consistently clear pattern of news stories that exaggerate or emphasize benefits while minimizing or ignoring harms, we are talking about stories exactly like this one...

What Does It Take to Get 'Better Living Through Medications' These Days?

Jessie Gruman | January 15, 2014

Lately, the public's faith in the safety of prescription and over-the-counter drugs has been making me uneasy. Why do so many of us continue to purchase pills that are not effective in causing weight loss, swallow syrups that promise to cure diabetes, and fiddle with our medication-taking regimens?...

It's Time to Stop Blaming the Patient and Fix the Real Problem: Poor Physician-Patient Communication

Stephen Wilkins | January 14, 2014

If hospitals, health plans and physicians expect patients to change their behavior, they themselves have to change the way they think about, communicate and relate to patients. As a first step, I suggest that they stop blaming patients for everything that's wrong with health care...

More Chronically Ill People Use Online Health Resources – but They're Not So Social, Pew Finds

Jane Sarasohn Kahn | January 13, 2014

Getting and being sick changes everything in your life, and that includes how you manage your health. For people focused on so-called patient engagement, health empowerment, and social networking in health, the elephant in the room is that most people simply don't self-track health via digital means...

Finding the Price of Health Care Services Remains Elusive

CFAH Staff | January 9, 2014

It's unfair to advise people to find out the price of a treatment when the price-transparency deck is stacked against them. So who will help patients find reliable price information and (hopefully) bring down the cost of care?

What Does Team-Based Care Mean for Patients?

Jessie Gruman | January 8, 2014

Team-based care has been endorsed by the professional organizations of our primary care clinicians, and there is a lot of activity directed toward making this the way most people receive their regular health care. What does this mean for us? It's not clear...

Why Does Our Health Care Cost So Much?

Trudy Lieberman | January 8, 2014

We know that the U.S. has the most expensive health care in the world. But beyond noting that dubious achievement, we seldom ask why...

Lack of Access Still to Blame

CFAH Staff | January 7, 2014

What's the key to reducing costly emergency room visits and readmissions? People who lack convenient access to a health care provider, with or without insurance, return to the emergency department or hospital out of need and desperation...

Who Can Represent Patients?

Kate Lorig | January 2, 2014

Many years ago, Alfred Korzybski wrote that "the map is not the territory". This distinction has implications for the role of patients' voices in health care planning and policy...

Advice for People New to Health Insurance (Part 8): Who's Who In Your Doctor's Office

Be a Prepared Patient | January 2, 2014

In the eighth and final part of our series, we explain who the various people are in your doctor's office, from nurse practitioners to lab technicians. Knowing their different roles can make your visit go more smoothly...

Advice for People New to Health Insurance (Part 7): Get the Most Out of Your Appointment

Be a Prepared Patient | January 1, 2014

In part seven of our series, we offer advice about how to make the most of your doctor's appointment. Here's what you should do before, during and after your visit...