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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Society of Behavioral Medicine Announces Inaugural 'Jessie Gruman Award for Health Engagement'

CFAH Staff | April 30, 2014

Dedicated to promoting behavioral medicine research and the application of that knowledge to improve the health and well-being of individuals, families, communities and populations, Society of Behavioral Medicine created this award to recognize an individual who has made a pivotal contribution to research, practice or policy in the field of health engagement.

Calorie Disclosures Might Actually Improve Health

Trudy Lieberman | April 29, 2014

I've long been a skeptic when it comes to disclosing information about how doctors practice medicine, how hospitals treat patients and what both doctors and hospitals charge for their services. But I'm dropping my skepticism about disclosing calories in food. We've been conditioned to think of some foods as healthier than others. Only labels will reveal the truth...

When an Advocate Becomes a Patient

Bonnie Friedman | April 28, 2014

A recent clumsy mishap at the gym landed me in the emergency department. Lying in the hall, feeling hapless and helpless, I was in no position to make any important health decisions, had they been needed, or to remember anything important that might have been said. Later, I understood on a deeply personal level the need for a patient advocate...

Are We Cowboys or Managers of Our Chronic Conditions?

Jessie Gruman | April 23, 2014

The word "management" raises images of organizational charts and neat project timelines. This bears no relationship to my experience of trying to live a full, rich life with serious chronic disease. My image of having a serious chronic disease is of a cowboy riding a rodeo bull. You call that management? No. But it gives you a pretty good idea of what it feels like to have a serious chronic disease. This is our experience...

Insurers Reap Rewards of Medicare Advantage Plans

Trudy Lieberman | April 22, 2014

A couple weeks ago, the Obama administration handed sellers of Medicare Advantage plans an increase in government payments for next year. While this may seem like a good thing for the 16 million beneficiaries who have MA plans, it may not be good for Medicare as a whole.

Doctors as Coaches, Giving Up the High Horse

Milly Dawson | April 21, 2014

A recent conference at Harvard Medical School brought together scores of physicians who want to live healthfully themselves and to work as partners with their patients to help them do the same. I've attended many medical meetings but never one as much fun or as health promoting for participants as this one...

Self-Monitoring Health IT Falls Short of Providing the Information We Need

Jessie Gruman | April 16, 2014

Yes, there are some data-fan, quantified-patient types out there. But most of us are not enamored of monitoring bits and bytes of our biophysical functioning. So perhaps we can turn our attention toward patients' more immediate concerns of having the right information at the right time in order to care for ourselves and those we love...

My Partner, My Memory

Barbara Kivowitz | April 15, 2014

I don't know if it's growing older, or New England winters, or the meds I take, or watching Homeland and Downton Abbey in the same week – but my memory isn't as crisp as it used to be. My partner, Richard, has become part of my cerebral cortex...

Co-Insurance for Medications: A Troubling Trend for Consumers

Ali Khoshnevis | April 14, 2014

As the health care system changes in the coming years, one particular trend that will negatively impact consumers' out-of-pocket costs is the use of co-insurance (instead of a co-pay) for expensive specialty medications. Approximately 57 million Americans rely on these drugs to maintain their health, and it is disheartening to learn that many people are suffering because their medications have become too expensive...

On Each Other's Team: What We Can Learn by Listening to Older Adults

Chris Langston | April 10, 2014

If there is a population in which we have the biggest opportunity to see improvements in both cost and quality of care outcomes, it is older Americans. The debate on how best to deliver effective primary care has gone on a long time, sometimes frustratingly so, but it has almost never included a crucial constituency: older adults. The John A. Hartford Foundation is pleased to help change that...

How to Make the Most of Your Doctor Visit

Jessie Gruman | April 9, 2014

Over the years, we've listened to hundreds of people discuss their experiences with their health and health care. One thing that seems to come up for many people is how hard it can be to find good care and make the most of it, which includes knowing what to do at a doctor's appointment. The following tips can help...

The Medicaid Gap Hits Home

Trudy Lieberman | April 8, 2014

A few days before the recent deadline for Obamacare sign-ups, I visited with one of the exchange navigators in Colorado, a state that expanded its Medicaid program and is working hard to enroll uninsured residents. This visit got me thinking of the millions of other people who live in states where they can't get access to Obamacare because they are too poor and yet are also not eligible for Medicaid...

Shared Decision Making: Blending Beliefs and Attitudes With Evidence

Don S. Dizon | April 7, 2014

My patient, Mary, was a 28-year-old woman who had completed chemotherapy for stage II breast cancer. After discussing surveillance, frequency of follow-up and ASCO guidelines, I recommended against further testing or imaging. Mary was well aware of the evidence, but she had different plans...

Working With Your Doctor's Office

Jessie Gruman | April 2, 2014

It is common for those who work in and deliver health care to overestimate our knowledge about our bodies, our illnesses and how the health care system works. Such as: Who is the nurse practitioner? Where is Dr. X's office? When is "soon"? Why are you recommending this test? To help people find good health care and make the most of it, the following video explains two key things to ask when making your appointment and three questions to get answered before you leave your doctor's office...

'Everybody Has Plans 'Til They Get Punched in the Mouth'

Carolyn Thomas | April 1, 2014

In boxing terms, this is completely literal, sound advice. As a figurative metaphor for illness, it's not bad, either. Because no matter how competent, how smart, how resourceful we may think we are before a catastrophic health crisis strikes, many of us may suddenly feel incompetent, ignorant and helpless when thrust inexplicably into the stress of such formidable reality...