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When Facing a Serious Diagnosis, 'AfterShock' App Can Help

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | December 18, 2014 | CFAH Staff

Receiving bad health news can spark great upheaval. It is a time when nothing seems certain and the future may look dark. Since its release this summer, the free AfterShock: Facing a Serious Diagnosis app has provided users with a basic roadmap through the first few days and weeks after a serious diagnosis, providing concise information and trusted resources to help regain a bit of control during this turbulent time. As one reviewer wrote, the AfterShock app is "a standard for empowered patients"...

Taking Risks With Needed Drugs Due to High Cost

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | December 8, 2014 | Ginger Skinner

More than 44 percent of Americans regularly take a prescription drug. And according to the 2013 Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs Prescription Drug Tracking Poll, 57 percent of people reported taking steps in the last year – some of them potentially dangerous – to curb high medication costs: not filling a prescription, skipping a scheduled dose, and taking an expired medication. Why? And what can be done to help?

Physician Behaviors May Contribute to Disparities in Mental Health Care

HBNS STORY | December 3, 2014

The way medical doctors initially assess, treat and refer racial and ethnic minority patients may contribute to known disparities in their use of mental health services, according to a new study in Health Services Research.

Digital and Mobile Health: Doctors and Consumers Are on Different Wavelengths

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | December 2, 2014 | Jane Sarasohn Kahn

If clinicians are to fully embrace and succeed with value-based payment and population health, it is crucial that they incorporate patient-generated data into EHRs to build a more complete picture of a patient’s life outside of the doctor’s office, at home, where she “lives, works, plays, and learns”. But new research from PwC’s Health Research Institute has found there is a big difference between what doctors and patients think about the self-care concept...

Asking Patients to Advocate for Their Own Safety Is Not Very Patient-Centered

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | November 24, 2014 | Marc-David Munk

Imagine, for a moment, if we expected passengers to "have a dialogue" with airline pilots prior to a flight. Is this something we'd consider admirably "passenger-centered?" What about "patient empowerment" materials which ask patients to confront caregivers who don't wash their hands? It's a bad turn of events when we ask patients to ask providers to avoid dirty hands and unnecessary care...

Lying to the Doctor

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | November 10, 2014 | Anne Polta

Why are patients sometimes less than forthcoming? The top reason, according to a new survey, is fear of being lectured or feeling embarrassed. If doctors want their patients to be honest, they need to make an effort of their own to create a trusting, non-threatening environment that encourages patients to open up...

Should You Trust Your Doctor's Advice?

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | November 4, 2014 | Michael Kirsch

Should you trust your doctor? Absolutely. But you need to serve as a spirited advocate for your own health or bring one with you. And most importantly, try as best as you can to verify that the proposed solution is targeted to your problem...

What to Do If the Doctor Just Shrugs

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | October 27, 2014 | Bonnie Friedman

As patients we want an answer and a treatment – if not a cure – for what ails us. But sometimes the doctor doesn't know what's wrong, which isn't as rare as we might think. All too often, patients or their families must take charge of their own medical management. Doctors, after all, are human, and some are better diagnosticians than others. Here are some things to do if you or a loved one is struggling with an undiagnosed condition...

How Differently Patients and Doctors View Health Technology, With Dr. Eric Topol

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | October 20, 2014 | Jane Sarasohn Kahn

Ninety-one percent of doctors are concerned about giving patients access to their detailed electronic health records, anticipating patients will feel anxious about the results. Only 34 percent of consumers are concerned about anxiety-due-to-EHR-exposure. Welcome to the digital health chasm, the gap between what consumers want out of digital health and what doctors believe patients can handle...

A Doctor's Dilemma of Prescribing for Pain

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | October 14, 2014 | Kenny Lin

I have complicated feelings about prescribing for chronic pain. On one hand, I recognize that relieving headaches, backaches, arthritis and nerve pain has been a core responsibility of the medical profession for ages. On the other hand, deaths and emergency room visits from overdoses of prescription painkillers have skyrocketed. I believe that addiction is a disease. So why do I find my patient's lies so hard to forgive?...

Timing of Epidural Is Up to the Mother

HBNS STORY | October 9, 2014

When a woman is in labor, the appropriate time to give an epidural during childbirth is when she asks for it, suggests a new review in The Cochrane Library.

'Be a Prepared Patient' Gets a New Look

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | October 1, 2014 | CFAH Staff

Finding good health care and making the most of it is critical for each of us. Yet all too often, reliable, unbiased information is hard to find and understand. On the redesigned Be a Prepared Patient website, we have collected trusted resources and tips to help people navigate their way through health and health care decisions and experiences...

But... What Did the Patient Want?

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | September 29, 2014 | Anne Polta

It's truly a dilemma for the doctor. The patient's test results are back and the news isn't good. But it's Friday afternoon and there's a decision to make: Call the patient now or wait until Monday?

A Nurse's View of Discharge Planning

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | September 22, 2014 | Virginia Wepfer

Jessie Gruman's Viewpoint article in the July 2014 issue of the American Journal of Nursing reflected many of the thoughts and experiences I have had as a parish nurse. "Discharge planning should start on the day of admission" is something that every nurse has heard, but I don't think I have seen that in practice at all!

Pressure from Providers Leads Some Women to Have C-Sections, Inductions

HBNS STORY | September 23, 2014

Pregnant women who felt pressured to have a labor induction or cesarean section by their obstetrical care providers were significantly more likely to have these procedures, even if there was no medical need for them, suggests a new study in Health Services Research.

Another Strategy in the Health Care Reimbursement Game

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | September 17, 2014 | Trudy Lieberman

American health care has become a gigantic game board with players of all sorts strategizing to win. Winning, of course, means getting more money from payers...

Are Medical Checklists Bad for Your Health?

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | September 15, 2014 | Leana Wen

Checklists are routine in other professions to standardize management, and we know they can prevent hospital infections and surgical error. But can there be a downside to checklist medical care? Consider these two examples...

What Health Care Consultants Told CFAH About Patient Engagement

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | September 10, 2014 | CFAH Staff

"At the end of the day, there is a growing recognition that we need people to take better care of themselves. Too much money is being spent on the consequences of unhealthy choices and on health care. We don't think that patient engagement is just the flavor of the week. The concept of how we can take more responsibility for our health and health care is not going away." – Janice Prochaska, PhD, President and CEO of Pro-Change Behavior Systems in South Kingstown, RI

What Patients Told CFAH About Patient Engagement

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | August 27, 2014 | CFAH Staff

"There's a prevailing attitude on the side of clinicians that looking for and using [our own] information is not good behavior on our parts. I think that attitude is a big barrier; people don't want to be seen as troublemakers for asking too many questions, disagreeing with a clinician, or bringing information to the table." – Kelly Young – Patient Advocate, President of the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation, and Founder of Rheumatoid Arthritis Warrior blog

Why I Fired My Doctor and What You Should Look for in Yours

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | August 25, 2014 | Donna Cryer

My new doctor and I clashed in every way. The short story is that I found another doctor who was a better fit for my "patient style." So what can you learn from my experience? First off, here are two questions you should ask yourself...

Leaving Their Pediatricians Tough for Some Teens with Chronic Conditions

HBNS STORY | August 21, 2014

A new study in the Journal of Adolescent Health has found that one in five young adults with chronic illnesses said the transfer of their care from pediatrics to adult-oriented health care was unsatisfactory.

Family History of Undertreatment May Discourage Blacks from Seeking Mental Health Care

HBNS STORY | August 7, 2014

Blacks with a family history of untreated mental health disorders are less likely to seek treatment, even when they rate their own mental health as poor, finds a new study in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior.

What Employers and Purchaser Representatives Told CFAH About Patient Engagement

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | August 6, 2014 | CFAH Staff

"Employers have an opportunity to reduce barriers and support engagement because they sponsor health plans and can provide access to information, tools, technologies, incentives, and more. Employers have more ability to influence engagement than they often believe they have." – Michael Vittoria, Vice President, Corporate Benefits, MaineHealth, Portland, ME

Seven Things You Can Do to Help Reduce Prescription Errors

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | August 4, 2014 | Margaret Polaneczky

I just got off the phone with a very upset patient who discovered that her pharmacy has been giving her the wrong medication for the past five months. Despite all our fancy technology and advances in health care, medication errors can and will occur. So what can you do, as a patient, to be sure that your prescriptions are correct?...

Facing a Serious Diagnosis? 'AfterShock' Now an App

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | July 31, 2014 | CFAH Staff

Receiving bad health news can spark great upheaval. It is a time when nothing is certain and the future looks dark. The new, free app 'AfterShock: Facing a Serious Diagnosis' offers a basic roadmap through the first few days and weeks, providing concise information and trusted resources to help you regain a bit of control during this turbulent time...

Patient-Centered Medical Homes Reduce Costs

HBNS STORY | July 31, 2014

As the number of patient centered medical homes has increased, a new report in the journal Health Services Research finds the model offers a promising option to reduce health care costs and utilization of some health care services.

Confidential Discussions Are Key to Improving Teen Health Visits

HBNS STORY | July 29, 2014

Teens who have the option to privately and confidentially discuss health concerns with their doctor are more likely to talk about certain issues than they would be in discussions where a parent is present, finds a new study in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

When Does a Patient Need to Be Seen?

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | July 28, 2014 | Anne Polta

You need a refill for a prescription that's about to run out. You've taken the medication for years without any problems and can't think of any reason why the prescription can't just be automatically continued. But the doctor won't order a refill unless you make an appointment and come in to be seen. Is this an unfair burden on the patient or due diligence by the doctor?...

What Community Health Leaders Told CFAH About Patient Engagement

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | July 23, 2014 | CFAH Staff

"When I think of patient engagement, I think of a partnership where people work together to figure out what the patient wants and how to support the process. Engagement is the knowledge base, working through the decisions and helping people to become full partners in their health outcomes." – June Simmons, MSW — Founding President and CEO, Partners in Care Foundation, San Fernando, CA

Lacking Trust in One's Doctor Affects Health of Emotionally Vulnerable Cancer Patients

HBNS STORY | July 22, 2014

The physical and mental well-being of people with cancer may be affected by how they feel about their relationship with their physician and by differences in attachment styles, finds a new study from General Hospital Psychiatry.

How to Prevent Hospital-Acquired Infections

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | July 21, 2014 | Bonnie Friedman

We go to the hospital to get better, right? But it doesn't always work that way. Sometimes patients become sicker, not because their illnesses are untreatable, but because deadly bugs can overtake a hospital's ecosystem and wreak havoc, especially among the most ill. Not long ago, this happened to my husband...

When It Comes to Health Disparities, Place Matters More Than Race

HBNS STORY | July 17, 2014

Blacks and Whites living in an integrated, low-income urban area had similar rates of treatment and management of hypertension, or high blood pressure, finds a new study in Ethnicity & Disease.

Patient Engagement: Here to Stay

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | July 1, 2014 | Jessie Gruman

What is patient engagement and what does it take to accomplish? With the support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, CFAH set out to explore this concept as it was viewed by various diverse stakeholders. Our interviews with 35 key health care stakeholders lead to an impressive unity of opinion...

Bring a Companion to Your Next Doctor's Appointment

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | June 26, 2014 | Danny van Leeuwen

Should you bring someone with you to your next doctor's appointment? If you're asking, the answer is yes. If you're asked, how do you be the best companion? Prep in advance, listen, record and ask questions. Know why you're going. That means two things...

All You Do Is Complain About Health Care

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | June 25, 2014 | Jessie Gruman

"All your Prepared Patient essays do is complain about your health care and your doctors. That's why I don't read them." Yowzah! Do I really complain? Not to be defensive, but I don't think so. Every week I work to vividly describe insights that might shine a little light on this project that patients, caregivers, clinicians and policymakers – well, the list goes on – share of trying to make health care more effective and fair...

Class and Insurance Stigma Are Barriers to Good Health Care

HBNS STORY | June 19, 2014

Some low-income, uninsured and Medicaid patients report feeling stigma when interacting with health care providers, finds a new report in The Milbank Quarterly.

Shared Decision Making Missing in Cancer Screening Discussions

HBNS STORY | June 12, 2014

A national survey of patients reveals that physicians don’t always fully discuss the risks and benefits of cancer screening, reports a new study in American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Ask Questions Before Surgery. You May Save Your Own Life.

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | June 9, 2014 | Heather Thiessen

I am wheeled into the operating room and walked to the bed. As I get to the table I am so cold and nervous, I begin to shake. I lay down on the operating table, thinking it seems very narrow and hoping I don't fall off. I hear one of the nurses say, "We have the Heparin ready for the new port." I freeze. I lift my head and say, "I'm allergic to Heparin." The anesthesia I've been given kicks in at that point and I drift off to sleep, hoping things go all right...

Caring for the Whole Patient

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | May 27, 2014 | Carolyn Thomas

When I was discharged from the intensive care unit in cardiology, not one of the nurses, residents or cardiologists asked if I'd be able to afford the fistful of expensive new cardiac meds I'd been prescribed. Not one asked if there was anybody at home to help take care of me there, or if there was anybody at home who needed me to take care of them. Not one asked if I'd be returning to a high-stress job, or even if I had enough banked sick time or vacation days to take sufficient time off. Such real-life issues are simply not the concern of most of our health care providers...

A Doctor's Strategies Helped Mom Pay for Meds

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | May 19, 2014 | Narine Wandrey

Bewildered, panicked and disheartened, I watched my mother's eyes dart back and forth as she read the pharmacy's prescription cash price list, knowing she could not possibly afford her monthly medicines. We drove home, not saying a word, but I knew she was deeply distraught. When we arrived, she began cutting each tiny elliptical or rounded tablet into halves and quarters...

How Much Is a Patient's Peace of Mind Worth?

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | May 12, 2014 | Anne Polta

If something is medically useless, does it still have value if it gives the patient (and perhaps the clinician as well) some peace of mind? To many patients, this is no small thing. Unfortunately, it's also often abetted by consumer marketing that plays up the peace-of-mind aspect of certain tests while remaining silent about the limited benefit, the possible risk and the clinical complexity that may be part of the larger picture...

More Patient Education, Not Physician Training, Helps Control Diabetes

HBNS STORY | May 8, 2014

Teaching people with diabetes how to control their blood glucose levels, not their doctors, helps them achieve better results, finds a new study in Ethnicity and Disease.

What Is Dignity and Does It Matter to Patients?

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | May 7, 2014 | Jessie Gruman

At a recent conference about patient engagement in health care, the word "dignity" was used over 50 times in the first 90 minutes, and I was left with a little pile of meaningless sound where I had expected to find something important. Since then, I have been on hyper-alert for "dignity"...

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

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | April 30, 2014 | CFAH Staff

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.

Minorities Face Disparities in Treatment and Outcomes of Atrial Fibrillation

HBNS STORY | April 29, 2014

Minority patients with atrial fibrillation, a heart condition that increases the risk of stroke, were less likely to receive common treatments and more likely to die from the condition than their white counterparts, finds a new study in Ethnicity and Disease.

Doctors as Coaches, Giving Up the High Horse

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | April 21, 2014 | Milly Dawson

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...

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

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | April 10, 2014 | Chris Langston

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

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | April 9, 2014 | Jessie Gruman

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...

Shared Decision Making: Blending Beliefs and Attitudes With Evidence

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | April 7, 2014 | Don S. Dizon

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

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | April 2, 2014 | Jessie Gruman

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...

The Goldilocks Approach to Our Health Knowledge: How Much Is Just Right?

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | March 26, 2014 | Jessie Gruman

Most professional health care stakeholders believe that the more we patients and caregivers know about our health and diseases, the better our outcomes will be. When faced with the facts about our health risks and dangerous habits, they think we will rationally change our behaviors and correct our misunderstandings. As a patient, I want to know: At what point do I know enough to reap these hypothetical benefits?

When a Loved One Is Hospitalized

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | March 24, 2014 | Bonnie Friedman

My husband has been in the hospital 14 times over the past 24 years. What I've learned is that my role as advocate is just as important to his recovery as the roles of doctors and the nurses. You may not have a medical degree, but you have intelligence and instincts...

My (Un)prepared Patient Story

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | March 19, 2014 | Jessie Gruman

I'm impressed with the health care that is now available to treat diseases that – even a decade ago – were a death sentence. And I'm so very grateful for them. But we and our doctors and nurses often overlook just how much the success of these tools depend on our active, informed participation. And many of us don't fully understand what it takes to participate well in our care...

Common Bias Ignored: Patients and Families Lose

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | March 12, 2014 | Jessie Gruman

There's a pesky cognitive bias that creates a honking big barrier to patients and families making the most of the health advice and services available to us. It's the tendency of experts to overestimate the knowledge of others. Given my current, frequent brushes with health care, I experience this all the time: "Just go to the lab and ask them," I'm told by my chemo nurse. I think: Huh? What lab? Where? Ask who? The effects of health stakeholders' overestimation of our knowledge are profound...

Patients Are Loyal to Their Doctors, Despite Performance Scores

HBNS STORY | March 11, 2014

Patients with an existing relationship with a doctor ranked as lower performing were no more likely to switch doctors than patients with higher performing doctors, finds a new study in Health Services Research.

What Is Patient-Centered Medicine, Really?

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | March 10, 2014 | Barbara Kivowitz

We have all heard the term patient-centered medicine by now. It's in the PR materials for hospitals, in the Affordable Care Act, in health care model innovations like the "medical home" and the "accountable care organization." But what is it? What would you like to see in a health system that is truly patient-centered?

The Other 'F' Word

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | March 6, 2014 | Jackie Fox

At my six-month checkup yesterday all was routine, other than my blood pressure being 131 over something when it's usually in the 115 range. Ten years ago I wouldn't have shared my fears at all, but thanks to early-stage breast cancer it's hard for my mind not to immediately go to the worst-case scenario...

Medication Adherence: Shift Focus From Patients to System

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | March 5, 2014 | Jessie Gruman

National conferences aimed at solving the problem of our wide-scale non-adherence to prescription medications feature expert reports about our misbehavior and bewail the huge number of us who fail to adhere to the ideal schedule. Then each conference gives plenty of airtime to more experts describing smart pill bottles, apps that nag at us, and how patient communities can provide important information about our drugs since our clinicians rarely do. Enough with blaming patients for our approach to taking our (many) medications...

Engagement From Patients' Perspective: Different Than Docs, Employers, Health Plans

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | February 26, 2014 | Jessie Gruman

The Prepared Patient Blog published over two hundred articles in 2013 about what it takes for people to get the most from health care and how the system can be improved to make it feasible for us to do so. Here's a recap of what engagement looks like to us – whether we are sick or well, whether we are caregivers or loved ones: Engagement is not easy and we can't do it alone. Patient engagement is not the same as compliance. It is not a cost-cutting strategy, and it is not one-size-fits-all.

Simple Waiting Room Test Can Help Diagnose Depression and Anxiety

HBNS STORY | February 25, 2014

A new study in General Hospital Psychiatry finds patients visiting the hospital for a variety of ailments can be easily screened for depression and anxiety as they wait for care.

Is Your Doctor Paying Attention?

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | February 13, 2014 | Carolyn Thomas

The $800 bottle of meds in my bathroom cabinet is a powerfully expensive reminder of my (former) family physician's lapse in attention – and my own lapse in catching her error. She'd somehow accidentally doubled both the dosage and the number of times per day to take these meds. How is this even possible? Somebody is not paying attention...

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

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | January 14, 2014 | Stephen Wilkins

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...

Few Primary Care Practices Provide Effective Weight Management Care

HBNS STORY | January 14, 2014

Only a quarter of U.S. primary care physicians surveyed are doing a thorough job of helping patients achieve and maintain a healthy weight, finds a study in the American Journal of Health Promotion.

What Does Team-Based Care Mean for Patients?

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | January 8, 2014 | Jessie Gruman

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...

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

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | January 2, 2014 | Be a Prepared Patient

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...

Doctors Experienced with Using EHRs Say They Add Value for Patients

HBNS STORY | January 2, 2014

A majority of surveyed physicians said they were alerted to a potential medication error or critical lab value by an electronic health record, finds a new study in Health Services Research.

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

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | January 1, 2014 | Be a Prepared Patient

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...

Advice for People New to Health Insurance (Part 6): 10 Steps to Making a Doctor's Appointment

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | December 31, 2013 | Be a Prepared Patient

In part six of our series, you'll find out what key pieces of information you need to know about your new doctor's office. Keep it handy with your personal health records or household files...

Pharmacy Staff Frequently Misinform Teens Seeking Emergency Contraception

HBNS STORY | December 19, 2013

A new study in the Journal of Adolescent Health finds that pharmacy staff frequently give teens misleading or incorrect information about emergency contraception that may prevent them from getting the medication.

Who’s Who in Your Doctor’s Office

PREPARED PATIENT RESOURCE | Communicate With Your Doctors

Medical offices have a lot of staff but one common goal—helping you, the patient. Here are some of the people you may meet during your doctor’s appointment.

"We Are All Patients." No, You're Not.

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | December 19, 2013 | Carolyn Thomas

I read recently about a medical conference on breast reconstructive surgery following mastectomy, to which not one single Real Live Patient who had actually undergone breast reconstructive surgery following mastectomy was invited to participate...

The N=1 Problem of the Patient Representative

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | December 18, 2013 | Jessie Gruman

What can we learn from an experiment conducted on a single person? How relevant are results to other patients or populations or diseases? While most of us encounter a cascade of events throughout each of our illnesses, in the end, what we bring to the table is our experience through the lens of our own unique attitudes, beliefs and histories...

Patient as 'Captain of the Team'? Block That Metaphor

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | December 11, 2013 | Jessie Gruman

You may have noticed an uptick in messages from your health plan or clinician notifying you that "You are the captain of your health care team." My response to this message? Bad metaphor.

Doctors Unaware That More Teens Are Turning to E-Cigarettes

HBNS STORY | December 10, 2013

Many clinicians are unfamiliar with or uncomfortable with addressing the use of e-cigarettes with their young patients, finds a new study in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Unique Barriers for African Americans With High Blood Pressure

HBNS STORY | November 26, 2013

African Americans with high blood pressure who reported experiencing racial discrimination had lower rates of adherence to their blood pressure medication, finds a new study in the American Journal of Public Health.

Should Patients Be Responsible for Physician Hand-Washing?

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | November 26, 2013 | David Williams

For the past few years I’ve heard suggestions that patients should take a more active role in their health care by asking doctors to wash their hands. I strongly disagree...

Electronic Health Records Can Measure Patient-Centered Care

HBNS STORY | November 21, 2013

Electronic health records collect non-clinical information that can be used to measure a medical practice’s patient-centeredness, finds a new study in Health Services Research.

Do “Experts” Value Patient and Family Input?

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | November 20, 2013 | Jessie Gruman

Current efforts to make health care more "patient-centered" include inviting some of us to advise on research priorities, care organization and delivery under the assumption that, as patients, we understand what patient-centered outcomes and care are. What do patients know about the inner workings of health care, after all?

The Language of Health Care

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | November 18, 2013 | Anne Polta

That "s.o.b." abbreviation in your chart doesn't indicate what you think it does. Health care has a language all its own consisting of ordinary words used in ways that convey certain shades of meaning. And sometimes they reinforce the paternalism and power imbalance that have historically existed between health care professionals and their patients.

Medical Jargon: Do You Need a Translator?

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | November 14, 2013 | Carolyn Thomas

A distressingly large number of people who have the letters M.D. after their names answer our health questions in such jargon-heavy ways that it makes our situation even more confusing. Time for a SMOG check – aka the "Simple Measure of Gobbledygook."

Evidence Is Only One Data Point in Our Treatment Decisions

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | November 13, 2013 | Jessie Gruman

I'm concerned that the frantic drive toward evidence-based medicine as a strategy for quality improvement and cost reduction sets clinicians and patients up for a conflict about our shared picture of health care.

Doctors Don't Know What We Won't Tell Them

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | November 12, 2013 | Colleen Crone

I'd said, "I know this isn't a big deal," when I meant "This is really bothering me." To be truly engaged patients, we have to give ourselves permission to say what we really mean.

Patient Engagement: On Meaning and Metrics

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | November 7, 2013 | Leslie Kernisan

What is patient engagement? Everyone agrees it's a good thing and that health care providers should be fostering it. How to do so, however, depends on what you believe the term means. I offer a new definition...

Race a Bigger Health Care Barrier Than Insurance Status

HBNS STORY | November 7, 2013

Blacks, Hispanics and Asians are less likely than non-Hispanic Whites to visit a health care professional, even with health insurance, finds a recent study in the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved.

My BlogTalkRadio Interview: Patient Engagement

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | October 30, 2013 | Jessie Gruman

Last week, I was interviewed by Dr. Pat Salber and Gregg Mastors on their BlogTalkRadio show, This Week in Health Innovation, about patient-centered care, patient engagement, shared decision making and the cost/quality trade-offs involved, and what all of this means for health care delivery.

Price Alone Is Not Enough: We Need Effectiveness Information Too

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | October 23, 2013 | Jessie Gruman

When price enters into examination room discussions, even straightforward recommendations can get complicated. How can you decide if the price of treatment is worth it if you don't understand why your clinician recommended this particular course of action?

We Can Do Better

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | October 22, 2013 | James Appleby

It's a scene that plays out daily in exam rooms across the country. The aging patient, accompanied by a caregiver, is seeing his or her physician and a discussion starts regarding the patient's memory.

Goldilocks Medical Care: Not Too Little, Not Too Much

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | October 17, 2013 | Leana Wen

What can you do to ensure that you obtain just the right amount of care? It isn't easy — if it were, then we wouldn't have the Goldilocks problem: Is it too little? Too much? Here are five suggestions that may help...

Latest Health Behavior News

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | October 11, 2013 | Health Behavior News Service

In this week's health news: Patient-doctor relationship affects diabetes care | Women in Appalachia at risk for late stage breast cancer | People with asthma need not fear exercise | Treating depression helps some smokers quit...

The Anatomy of a Hospital Admission

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | October 3, 2013 | Jordan Grumet

If Hattie had but one flaw, it was that she held her doctors in too high esteem. So when her blood pressure came up a little high, she was too embarrassed to admit that she hadn't taken her prescription in over a week. Two days later, Hattie showed up to the emergency room...

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

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | September 30, 2013 | Kelly Young

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"...

Trusting Their Doctor Helps People Manage Diabetes

HBNS STORY | September 26, 2013

Having trust in one’s physician has been correlated with better adherence to diabetes self-care, finds a new study in the American Journal of Health Behavior.

My Journey as an Undercover Patient

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | August 26, 2013 | Meryl Bloomrosen

Not too long ago, I had the misfortune to fall from my bicycle, and within minutes my bicycle and I were on our way to the local hospital via ambulance with serious but non-life threatening injuries. As a result of this incident, I got to experience the health care system first hand, up close and personal. Thus began my unexpected journey as an undercover patient...

Restricting Food and Fluids During Labor is Unwarranted

HBNS STORY | August 22, 2013

Despite the longstanding, widespread practice of restricting women’s food and fluid intake during labor, a large-scale analysis in The Cochrane Library finds it unwarranted and supports women eating and drinking as they please.

I Wish I’d Known Earlier...Survivorship Care Is a Mutual Enterprise

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | August 21, 2013 | Jessie Gruman

I wish I'd known earlier that survivorship care is neither a do-it-yourself project nor is it something that I can simply hand off to experts…As former cancer patients, we can't just walk in to our appointments with our oncologist, survivorship specialist or primary care doctor every six months or year and have survivorship care handled for us…

Rural Seniors Prefer Self-Care Over Doctors

HBNS STORY | August 15, 2013

A survey of older rural adults found a high degree of medical skepticism, the belief that one knows and can control their own health better than a medical professional can, reports a recent study in the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved.

How to Make the Most of Your Doctor Visit

PREPARED PATIENT RESOURCE | Prepared Patient Videos

Over the years, the Center for Advancing Health has 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 health care and make the most of it, which includes knowing what to do at a doctor's appointment. We've come up with these tips to help.

Every Move You Make, the Patient Is Watching You

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | July 22, 2013 | Anne Polta

Patients have a way of hanging onto every nonverbal cue they notice, no matter how small.

I Couldn’t Do It. Could You?

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | June 27, 2013 | Susan Shaw

I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t ask the nurses and doctor who looked after my daughter to wash their hands.

I’m Through Feeling Guilty for My Health Problems

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | June 17, 2013 | Heather Thiessen

Have you ever felt like you needed to apologize for a health problem you were facing? I have experienced this often over my many years in the healthcare system.

Doctors Don’t Provide Sexual Health Info to Teens

HBNS STORY | June 11, 2013

Most sexually active teens don’t get information about sexual health from their health care providers, finds a new study in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Clinicians are from Mars, e-Patients are from Venus

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | June 10, 2013 | Danny van Leeuwen

My experience is that e-patients and clinicians can agree that they seek "best health". Yet there is such a disconnect, such frustration, so much of the time. A pervasive gap exists between the way clinicians and e-patients approach this goal...

Fire My Doctor? Not So Fast

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | June 5, 2013 | Jessie Gruman

Last week, a friend told me that her mother had been fired as a patient by her primary care physician in a letter she received in the mail. Last week, I fired my oncologist by email. My friend and I both wrestled with accepting that, in fact, this relationship needed to end.

Eye to Eye: The Doctor-Patient Relationship in Stage IV Cancer

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | June 3, 2013 | Lisa Bonchek Adams

Everything changes with a diagnosis of Stage 4 cancer. I don’t really think that’s an overstatement. My relationship with my oncologists has, by nature, changed as well.

3 First Principles for Evaluating Patient-Facing HIT Solutions

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | May 30, 2013 | Stephen Wilkins

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?

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | May 29, 2013 | Jessie Gruman

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?

Patient Engagement? How About Doctor Engagement?

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | May 28, 2013 | Carolyn Thomas

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.

Is Patient Engagement a Set-Up for Failure?

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | May 15, 2013 | Jessie Gruman

“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.

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

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | May 8, 2013 | Jessie Gruman

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.

Chronic Pain Sufferers Likely to Have Anxiety

HBNS STORY | May 7, 2013

Patients coping with chronic pain should also be evaluated for anxiety disorders, according to new research published in General Hospital Psychiatry.

The Best Health Care Decision is Realizing That There Are Choices

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | May 2, 2013 | Wendy Lynch

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

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | May 1, 2013 | Jessie Gruman

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.

Teaching Patients about New Medications? A Picture Is Worth 1000 Words

HBNS STORY | April 30, 2013

Improving people’s knowledge and skills about their medications may be best achieved with multimedia patient education materials, finds a new systematic review in The Cochrane Library.

Whose Patient Engagement Goals Are We Talking About?

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | April 17, 2013 | Jessie Gruman

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?

Getting My Photo Taken at a Medical Appointment

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | April 15, 2013 | Elaine Schattner

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

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | April 11, 2013 | Stephen Wilkins

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…

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

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | April 1, 2013 | Stephen Wilkins

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?

What Do Patients Need From Clinicians?

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | March 20, 2013 | Jessie Gruman

In response to their February issue, New Era of Patient Engagement, Health Affairs launched a new Facebook initiative to connect people with patient advocates. I was honored to kick off the Q&A series.

Email and Texts to Doctors: Not Just for High-Income Patients

HBNS STORY | March 12, 2013

Low-income patients served by “safety-net” community health centers want to communicate with their doctors via email or text or are already doing so, according to a new study in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Pharmacists Can Improve Patient Outcomes

HBNS STORY | February 28, 2013

In addition to dispensing, packaging or compounding medication, pharmacists can help improve patient outcomes in middle-income countries by offering targeted education, according to a new review in The Cochrane Library.

An Accidental Tourist Finds Her Way in the Dangerous Land of Serious Illness

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | February 6, 2013 | Jessie Gruman

Health Affairs February issue, A New Era of Patient Engagement, selected my essay, An Accidental Tourist Finds Her Way in the Dangerous Land of Serious Illness, for its Narrative Matters piece. In the essay, I share experiences from my latest cancer diagnosis and call for policies to support patients and families with the increased responsibilities they face to find good health care and make the most of it.

Measuring Meaning: Tough to Track Important Talks

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | January 30, 2013 | Jessie Gruman

We do better when we have meaningful conversations with our clinicians about our health care. Proposals to require and document that such conversations take place at strategic points are growing. Here’s a cautionary tale.

Comparative Effectiveness Research: Jeffrey Carroll, Host of HDBuzz

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | January 28, 2013 | Jeffrey Carroll

As a community, our focus is on the discovery of disease-modifying treatments. This is the burning desire of everyone in the [Huntington’s disease] community.

5 Steps to Building a Great Partnership with Your Doctor

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | January 24, 2013 | Leana Wen

The last time you went to your doctor, did you feel like he listened to you? Or did you feel ignored and left with more questions than answers?

Getting the Most Out of a Doctor’s Appointment

PREPARED PATIENT RESOURCE | Communicate With Your Doctors

Doctor’s appointments are often brief. Here’s how to quickly explain what’s wrong so you can get the help you need.

Talking About Medical Tests

PREPARED PATIENT RESOURCE | Communicate With Your Doctors

Doctors run tests to check your health or to figure out what’s wrong. Here are some basic questions you should ask about medical tests.

Asking Your Doctor Questions

PREPARED PATIENT RESOURCE | Communicate With Your Doctors

How to ask your doctor questions so that you can understand your diagnosis and treatment options.

Monitoring Your Child's Development: Your Pediatrician Can Help

PREPARED PATIENT ARTICLE

When all is well with physical health, often it is a child's behavior that prompts parents to the visit their pediatrician who may rule out — or uncover — developmental problems.

Giving Your Doctor the Pink Slip

PREPARED PATIENT ARTICLE

Feeling uneasy with or disrespected by your current doctor? Our experts — both physicians — talk frankly about rocky spots in doctor-patient relationships.

Making a Pact With Your Doctors

PREPARED PATIENT ARTICLE

A shared care plan can be a guide to treatment goals that you and your doctors agree on, and it can set the rules of engagement as you pursue your treatment.

Take My Damn Data. Please.

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | January 23, 2013 | Jessie Gruman

Many people assume that their test results will be automatically sent to the right doctors and don’t bother to request that it be done.

It's Not Complaining if It Helps

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | January 14, 2013 | Patient Perspectives

In this roundup, patient bloggers Barbara Kivowitz, Warm Socks and Kelly Young explain the difference between complaining and whining.

Helping Patients Do the Work: Minimally Disruptive Medicine Tries to Right-Size Health Care

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | January 10, 2013 | Janice Lynch Schuster

My husband is an insulin-dependent diabetic who has accumulated an array of chronic health conditions. I confess to days in which I play the role of diabetes cop'?¦I hate it when I do this, and yet it seems to be a role I have fallen into. But I had never thought of living with a chronic condition as a form of work until I interviewed Dr. Victor Montori.

Prepared Patient: Making a Pact With Your Doctors

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | December 28, 2012 | Health Behavior News Service

Being a prepared patient means taking on some of the jobs 'big and small' that are necessary for staying healthy and coping will illness. Just like with any other job, it helps to have the job description clearly laid out before you start work. Your doctor may be expecting you to do certain tasks from filling prescriptions to changing your sleep or diet that can help you make the most of your care.

Health Care Providers Can Learn to Communicate Better with Patients

HBNS STORY | December 18, 2012

Medical students, doctors and nurses can be taught to use a more holistic, patient-centered approach during medical consultations, focusing on the person and not just their medical complaint, finds a new review in The Cochrane Library.

Communicate With Your Doctors

PREPARED PATIENT RESOURCE | Communicate With Your Doctors

You and your doctor need accurate information from each other. Open communication with your doctor is one of the most important factors in getting and staying healthy.

Understanding a New Prescription

PREPARED PATIENT RESOURCE | Communicate With Your Doctors

Got a new prescription? Here are some tips for managing your new medication.

Talking About Your Symptoms

PREPARED PATIENT RESOURCE | Communicate With Your Doctors

Describing your symptoms well can help provide clues to what’s wrong. Here’s advice on how to tell your story.

Comparative Effectiveness Research: Donna Cryer of the American Liver Foundation

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | November 20, 2012 | Donna Cryer

Patients are not opposed to comparative effectiveness research. I think they understand its value to health care decision-making. But physician-scientists and policymakers rightly perceive the inherent tension between personalized medicine and CER.

When Your Doctor Says, “I Have Bad News”

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | October 30, 2012 | Jessie Gruman

In "When Your Doctor Says, 'I Have Bad News'" I offer advice on how to cope with a scary diagnosis - without getting caught up in the chaos of fear. Written by Jon Spayde for Experience L!fe magazine’s November issue.

From Doctor-Centered to Patient-Centered Care

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | October 29, 2012 | Leana Wen

As a medical student, I held the medical world in great awe. All that changed the day my mother became a patient and I began to see firsthand not only how difficult it is to navigate the healthcare system, but also how scary and unwelcoming the hospital can be.

More on the 'Difficult Patient' Label

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | October 16, 2012 | Inside Health Care

Have you ever worried about being called a difficult patient? Here, journalists, patients, and doctors discuss the "dreaded 'D' label" and why it's important to speak up.

Patient Engagement: No App Can Take the Place of Good Old Conversation

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | October 15, 2012 | Stephen Wilkins

Physicians, hospitals and other providers are being misled by industry pundits claiming that more health information technology (as in EMRs, PHRs, Smart Phone apps, and web portals) is the key to greater patient engagement. It'??s not.

How to Better Understand Your Real Risk

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | October 11, 2012 | Barbara Bronson Gray

Every day we're bombarded with news stories about our growing risk for getting this or that. If you eat fish you have a 30% greater chance of getting something or other, and if you drink three cups of coffee a day...Pretty soon it's all background noise.

Slow Leaks: Missed Opportunities to Encourage Our Engagement in Our Health Care

What does it take for us and our families to find good care and make the most of it? And what can be done to help those who lack the skills, resources or capacities, or who are already ill, compensate for their inability to do so? This collection of essays identifies some of the key challenges posed to most of us by health care as it is currently delivered in many settings.

Getting Engaged

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | September 24, 2012 | Elaine Waples

We hear inspiring things about patient engagement. The very concept has a hearty, spirited, do-right sound to it. After two years of cancer treatment, there are a few fundamental principles I think patient engagement should mirror.

Guest Blog: Stilettos and Chemotherapy: An Oncologist Reflects on Patient Autonomy

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | September 17, 2012 | Don S. Dizon

I was offering a drug that could help stop the cancer in its tracks; it could prolong her life. And yet, instead of taking my advice, she had rejected it. Why?

A Year of Living Sickishly: A Patient Reflects

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | September 13, 2012 | Jessie Gruman

The essays collected here reflect on what it felt like as a patient with a serious illness, to cobble together a plan with my clinicians that works and to slog through the treatments in the hope that my cancer will be contained or cured and that I will be able to resume the interesting life I love.

A Year of Living Sickishly: A Patient Reflects

On Friday afternoon of Labor Day weekend three years ago, my doctor called to tell me that the pathology report from a recent endoscopy showed that I had stomach cancer. Maybe you can imagine what happened next.

Guest Blog: What We Want from the Patient Experience

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | August 27, 2012 | Barbara Bronson Gray

We're a disgruntled bunch these days. We think there must be a better way to experience health care.

Hey Doc, Choose Your Words Carefully

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | August 9, 2012 | Conversation Continues

The words used by health professionals to describe our illness, treatment, prognosis, etc., carry weight. Which ones they choose can affect our understanding of our care and our ability to participate in it.

Guest Blog: We Are All Doctors

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | July 26, 2012 | Donna Cryer

Well of course we are not all doctors. What a ludicrous statement. Just because I have changed a band-aid, taken a temperature, 'diagnosed' a headache and appropriately treated with an acetaminophen, and even clipped an in-grown toe-nail does not make me a healthcare professional.

Why I Write: A Doctor's Tribute to Her Mother

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | July 23, 2012 | Leana Wen

My mother, Sandy Ying Zhang, is my role model and my inspiration for what I do every day. She was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was in her forties, and fought it courageously for seven years until she passed away in 2010.

Guest Blog: Will Information Technology Squeeze Physicians Out Of Their Central Role In Health Care?

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | July 19, 2012 | Stephen Wilkins

Turns out that while most of us (90%) would like be able to make a doctor's appointment and check lab results online'.85% of us also still want the option to talk to our physician face-to-face. These are the findings from a recent 2012 study conducted by Accenture.

The Art of the Fail, Open Table Surveys, and Increasing Our Engagement in Health Care

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | July 18, 2012 | Jessie Gruman

In the past two days I have filled out two post-dining surveys from Open Table, and it occurred to me that it would be great if there were something similar that could provide the immediate guidance we need to participate in our care.

Are You Afraid of Being Labeled a Difficult Patient?

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | May 16, 2012 | Barbara Bronson Gray

Turns out we're a nation of doctor pleasers when it comes to health care. A recent study found that patients avoid challenging their physicians because they're afraid of getting the "difficult patient" label.

Self-Efficacy, part 2

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | May 7, 2012 | Connie Davis

Whenever I am in an interaction, I know these three ideas can help shape the encounter. How is the person doing with these three tasks? What can I do to help? Are they confident in these three tasks?

Guest Blog: Waiting Too Long for the Doctor? What to Do

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | May 1, 2012 | Barbara Bronson Gray

Waiting to see a physician is much, much different from waiting for an airplane or a bus'A friend recently asked me: Why do we have to wait so long for doctors and not for other professionals, like lawyers, accountants or dentists? And is there anything we can we do about it?

Guest Blog: When Families Clash During the Doctor Visit

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | April 24, 2012 | Anne Polta

Family togetherness is usually a good thing, but sometimes it's a source of conflict, and new research suggests doctors can be slow to recognize when families disagree about the best course of care.

Self-Efficacy, Part 1

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | April 12, 2012 | Connie Davis

Self-efficacy is a very important concept in health care. It is nearly the same thing as self-confidence, or a belief that you can do something, like monitor mood, change eating habits and start being more physically active. It turns out that self-efficacy is linked to hospital utilization (low confidence = increased ER visits and days in hospital), to blood sugar control (low confidence = worse blood sugar control) and to changes in behavior.

Dear Dr. ___[my surgeon],

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | March 28, 2012 | Andrew Robinson

I understand you are leaving [this hospital]'..By way of wishing you well, here are some thoughts that might help you in your new position

Guest Blog: What Can the Health Care System Learn from a Car Dealer?

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | March 27, 2012 | Neil Mehta

I personally dread the car buying experience for many reasons but one thing that bothers me is the discontinuity. You often see the sales person several times and to some extent the character of your relationship with him/her impacts the decision to purchase the vehicle.

What Does it Mean if Primary Care Doctors Get the Answers Wrong About Screening Stats?

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | March 22, 2012 | Elaine Schattner

Recently the Annals of Internal Medicine published a new report on how doctors (don't) understand cancer screening stats. This unusual paper reveals that some primary care physicians a majority of those who completed a survey don't really get the numbers on cancer incidence, 5-year survival and mortality.

Participatory Medicine 2.0

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | March 20, 2012 | Chris Gibbons

In 'Participatory Medicine: Must You Be Rich to Participate?' in the Journal of Participatory Medicine, Graedon and Graedon pose a question: Is the participatory movement leaving [the non-affluent] behind? Their article suggests that only the affluent members of our society can afford care that is participatory. Their premise appears to be built on two assumptions that should be regarded as faulty.

Guest Blog: Adherence: The difference between what is, and what ought to be

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | March 16, 2012 | Scott Gavura

One of the most interesting aspects of working as a community-based pharmacist is the insight you gain into the actual effectiveness of the different health interventions.

What's Engagement Now? Expert Chris Gibbons Discusses Emerging Challenges

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | March 14, 2012 | Chris Gibbons

I think that if people are ever going to be able to use technology to engage in their care, the technologies have to be built for them and have to be usable by them.

What Should Go in a Social History?

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | March 13, 2012 | Vineet Arora

As I am on service, I realized that one thing that can be easily lost in the race to take care of patients with limited duty hours ' the social history.

Guest Blog: Giving the Patient Bad News

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | March 13, 2012 | Anne Polta

The patient, a young rodeo rider from rural Ohio, lies in a hospital bed, sick and in pain. The doctor has the results of his bone marrow biopsy and the news isn't good.

Guest Blog: A New Breed of Doctor

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | March 5, 2012 | Anne Polta

Starting in 2015, students who aspire to become doctors will be tested on more than just their knowledge of the sciences. They'll also need to have a good understanding of psychology, sociology and biology and how these forces help shape individual health and behavior.

Opening Up the Doctor's Notebook

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | January 13, 2012 | Anne Polta

If you could see what your doctor wrote about you in your medical record, would this hurt or enhance your relationship? A new survey found that the majority of patients more than 90 percent are supportive and even enthusiastic about being able to read the doctor's notes. But among physicians, the reaction was mixed.

A Patient-Doctor Relationship Make-Over

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | December 13, 2011 | Conversation Continues

There is a growing recognition that the doctor-patient relationship needs to evolve from the traditional model of dominant doctor/passive patient to one that is more collaborative. Here are examples of how this relationship affects people's involvement in their care.

Guest Blog: A Near Miss. A Good Pharmacist. A Serious Lesson.

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | December 8, 2011 | Herb Wells

Last week I went to the family pharmacy I use in New York City to pick up a new anti-arrhythmic drug that might slow down or even stop the atrial fibrillation I had experienced for the previous two weeks. The pharmacist came from behind his privacy wall to speak with me before dispensing the drug.

When Will Grasp Catch Up with Reach? Older People Are Missing the Benefits of Remote Patient Monitoring for Chronic Illness

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | December 7, 2011 | Jessie Gruman

Did you know that every nursing home resident in the US must be asked every quarter whether she wants to go home, regardless of her health or mental status? And if she says yes, there is a local agency that must spring into action to make that happen.

An Under-Recognized Danger for the Elderly: Delirium

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | November 22, 2011 | Conversation Continues

Delirium and dementia are not synonymous, though in elderly hospitalized patients, delirium is often overlooked or dismissed as such. Here, Nora O'Brien-Suric and Susan Seliger discuss their parents' hospital experiences with delirium, which new research shows, has dangerous implications.

Hard Cold Facts, or Hard Cold Doctors?

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | November 10, 2011 | Andrew Robinson

I was first diagnosed while on vacation in 1994. A doctor entered the room and, without warning, said that I had 'a terminal and incurable form of leukemia' and 'less than five years to live.' Just like that. Turns out he was wrong'

Guest Blog: Instant Access & Old Faulty Assumptions

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | October 25, 2011 | Rima Rudd

The current literature indicates that we in the various health disciplines provide texts that are poorly written and organized, web sites that are hard to navigate, as well as charts and graphs that are difficult for many to interpret and use. I say that we can make information truly accessible and usable by adding needed rigor to our work.

Patient Engagement: Expert Judith Hibbard Talks about Challenges

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | October 24, 2011 | Judith Hibbard

This interview with Judy Hibbard is the seventh in a series of brief chats between CFAH president and founder, Jessie Gruman and experts - our CFAH William Ziff Fellows - who have devoted their careers to understanding and encouraging people's engagement in their health and health care.

1st Person: The ICU: A Caregiver's Perspective

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | October 20, 2011 | First Person

Erica Kosal's husband, Jim Young, has battled complications of chronic Lyme disease since his diagnosis in 2008. In 2010, Jim's hospitalization for respiratory problems took a turn for the worse, resulting in a 3-week ICU stay.

Prepared Patient: Cutting Through ICU Confusion

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | October 20, 2011 | Health Behavior News Service

In January 2010, after beginning treatment for chronic Lyme disease, 53-year-old Jim Young lost significant weight and struggled to breathe. Within 15 hours, his wife Erica Kosal received a call about his imminent transfer to the intensive care unit (ICU). "I can remember he was hooked up to all kind of machines. He looked so deflated.'

Uncoordinated Care

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | September 30, 2011 | Andrew Robinson

I sit looking at the phone. I'm having a medical problem that needs attention, but I don't know who to call. Here's why...

Our Experience Trumps Policy in Changing Our Health Care Beliefs

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | September 14, 2011 | Jessie Gruman

Our discomfort with the array of private and public sector proposals to improve health care quality while holding down costs should not be surprising. Most of us hold long-standing, well-documented beliefs about health care that powerfully influence our responses to such plans. For example, many of us believe that if the doctor ordered it or wants to do it, we must need it.

Inside Health Care: Barriers to Care: ''a Failure to Communicate'

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | August 24, 2011 | CFAH Staff

A new study shows that 21% of adult Americans delay seeking health care for reasons other than cost. In this collection, a doctor, a journalist, and a health care manager discuss the need for improved systems and candor to support better doctor-patient communication.

Patient Advocates: Flies In The Ointment Of Evidence-Based Care

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | July 18, 2011 | Jessie Gruman

The women recounted how their lives had been saved as they pleaded for the Food and Drug Administration not to withdraw approval for Avastin as a treatment for advanced breast cancer. They did so even without evidence that it provides benefit and with evidence that it confers risks.

Engagement Does Not Mean Compliance

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | July 13, 2011 | Jessie Gruman

Engagement and compliance are not synonyms. I am compliant if I do what my doctor tells me to do. I am engaged, on the other hand, when I actively participate in the process of solving my health problems.

Don Berwick and Patient Centered Care

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | June 23, 2011 | Elaine Schattner

Berwick now heads the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. When he spoke in April, on transparency and how we might simultaneously cut costs and improve care, I thought his talk was pretty good. This morning, through Twitter, I came upon a short clip from a Berlin conference in 2009. Here, he tackles the meaning of patient-centered care. It's near-perfect.

Should Doctors Protect Us from Data about Medical Risks?

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | June 22, 2011 | Jessie Gruman

Sara had a pain in her side that she attributed to using a new ab machine at the gym. But over the next couple days, the pain increased and made her short of breath. On the third day, she consulted her primary care doctor, who examined her and found nothing untoward. But he recommended that she go to the Emergency Department to get the pain checked out. At the ED, she had a blood test and a chest x-ray, which were both normal. 'Do you want a CT scan?' she was asked by an ED physician. She replied, 'Well I've already been here almost three hours. I might as well.'

What's Expected of You at Your Doctor's Office?

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | June 14, 2011 | Stephen Wilkins

When you or I visit an accountant, a lawyer or car mechanic, we know what our role is and have a pretty clear understanding of what the ' expert' is supposed to do. But when it comes to a trip to the doctor these days the roles and responsibilities of patients and physicians have become blurred and unpredictable'and the patient seems to generally be on the losing end.

Guest Blog: Confused about Post-Operative Confusion

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | June 9, 2011 | Nora OBrien Suric

Several months ago my 80-year-old father had triple bypass surgery. As any family member would be, my father's wife, my siblings, and I were both worried and hopeful. We were told that the surgeon was the best and my father was in good hands. Afterwards, we were told that the surgery went well. However, one of the night nurses in the coronary care unit reported that my father took a swing at one of the doctors.

Guest Blog: Care That Helps People Make Plans 'In Their Own Way'

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | June 9, 2011 | Emily Gibson

Sixty-five years ago, Dr. Emily Gibson's grandmother never asked and was never told what was wrong with her when she was terminally ill. Gibson recognizes the change from 'the patient doesn't need to know and the doctor knows better' philosophy to one of a partnership between a clinician and patient, which is how she practices medicine in Northwest Washington state.

The Cognitive Traps We All Fall Into

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | May 26, 2011 | Harriet Hall

In my recent review of Peter Palmieri's book Suffer the Children I said I would later try to cover some of the many other important issues he brings up. One of the themes in the book is the process of critical thinking and the various cognitive traps doctors fall into. I will address some of them here. This is not meant to be systematic or comprehensive, but rather a miscellany of things to think about. Some of these overlap.

What Must We Know About What Our Doctors Know?

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | May 25, 2011 | Jessie Gruman

The most important thing I learned was that different doctors know different things: I need to ask my internist different questions than I do my oncologist. This was not some sweet ingénue recounting the early lessons she learned from a recent encounter with health care. Nope. It was a 62-year-old woman whose husband has been struggling with multiple myeloma for the last eight years and who herself has chronic back pain, high blood pressure and high cholesterol and was at the time well into treatment for breast cancer.

Inside Health Care: Good Care Involves Good Communication

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | May 5, 2011 | CFAH Staff

Many consider medicine just as much of an art as a science. How you communicate with your clinician and how your clinician communicates with you can affect your care.

Guest Blog: Death Panels and Decision Making: A Radio Interview

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | April 15, 2011 | Amy Berman

Diana Mason, former editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Nursing, interviews Program Officer at The John A. Hartford Foundation, Amy Berman, and The New York Times blogger and nurse, Theresa Brown. Amy Berman was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer earlier this year, and in this interview, she says, 'Nothing was off limits.'

Guest Blog: One More Reason Patients Ask Doctors So Few Questions

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | March 31, 2011 | Stephen Wilkins

The most popular post on my blog is entitled Five Reasons Why People Do Not Ask Their Doctor Questions. Well it seems there is a sixth reason. The Reason? Patients were never supposed to ask doctors questions.

Does My Doctor Trust Me (and Does It Matter)?

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | March 30, 2011 | Jessie Gruman

Members of the American public are frequently surveyed about their trust in various professionals. Doctors and nurses usually wind up near the top of the list, especially when compared to lawyers, hairdressers and politicians. Trust in professionals is important to us: they possess expertise we lack but need, to solve problems ranging from the serious (illness) to the relatively trivial (appearance).

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

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | March 23, 2011 | Jessie Gruman

In the recent 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.

Patient Perspectives: Unspoken Rules

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | March 18, 2011 | CFAH Staff

When you've been to one clinic or hospital, you have been to one clinic or hospital. Each operates differently and expects patients to take on different roles and responsibilities, which are rarely explained.

Inside Health Care: Building Relationships with Patients

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | March 8, 2011 | CFAH Staff

A blog round-up on the importance of building relationships with patients---starting early with medical students. Hospital administrators and specialists also weigh in with solutions.

Say What? Do Patients Really Hear What Doctors Tell Them?

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | March 3, 2011 | Carolyn Thomas

I had a heart attack two years ago and was taken immediately to the O.R. for a stent implantation. Overwhelmed and terrified, I knew nothing of what was about to happen to me. What I learned later was that my stent may help a newly-opened artery to stay open. But a new study now suggests heart patients believe that stents have far greater benefits than they actually do. Should it be up to patients to ensure that doctor-patient communication is accurate or effective during an emotionally overwhelming medical event?

It's Time to Tango: Impatient With Progress on Patient-Physician Partnerships

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | March 2, 2011 | Jessie Gruman

The other day I came across this photo of a couple clasping each other in a dramatic tango on the cover of an old medical journal'a special issue from 1999 that was focused entirely on doctor-patient partnerships. The tone and subjects of the articles, letters and editorials were identical to those written today on the topic: 'it's time for the paternalism of the relationship between doctors and patients to be transformed into a partnership;' 'there are benefits to this change and dangers to maintaining the status quo;' 'some doctors and patients resist the change and some embrace it: why?'

Guest Blog: A Disconnect in Consumer Reports Survey of Doctors and Patients

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | February 23, 2011 | Gary Schwitzer

The thing that jumped out at me most from the Consumer Reports survey of almost 700 primary care physicians and thousands of CR subscribers - described by CR as "What doctors wish their patients knew" - was something about what patients wish their doctors knew.

A Valentine to Shared Decision Making

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | February 14, 2011 | Jessie Gruman

Shared decision making is hot right now. Research. Surveys. Tools. Training. Conferences. Policies. The current model of shared decision making consists of providing patients with evidence that allows them to compare the risks and side effects of different treatments or preventive services when more than one option is available. After studying the evidence, the theory goes, patients discuss it with their physician, weigh their personal preferences and together the two agree upon a course of action.

Dicker With Your Doc? Not So Fast'

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | January 20, 2011 | Jessie Gruman

'How to Haggle With Your Doctor' was the title of a recent Business section column in The New York Times. This is one of many similar directives to the public in magazines, TV and Websites urging us to lower the high price of our health care by going mano a mano with our physicians about the price of tests they recommend and the drugs they prescribe. Such articles provide simple, commonsense recommendations about how to respond to the urgency many of us feel ' insured or uninsured ' to reduce our health care expenses.

More Questions About Medical Tests

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | January 12, 2011 | Conversation Continues

Prepared Patient: Sorting Out Medical Opinion Overload

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | December 28, 2010 | Health Behavior News Service

When her grandmother experienced a sudden onset of dizziness, slurred speech and facial drooping, Kafi Grigsby found herself in an emergency department waiting room, surrounded by five doctors with four different opinions on what had occurred and how to treat it.

Prepared Patient: Taking Charge of Your Health Records

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | December 27, 2010 | Health Behavior News Service

File folders, marching across the shelves in an orderly line behind the receptionist's desk, may be the first thing you see when you sign in for a doctor's appointment. While it's tempting to believe that your personal health history is neatly contained within one of those folders, the truth is far more troubling.

Prepared Patient: Effective Patienthood Begins With Good Communication

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | December 24, 2010 | Health Behavior News Service

Given all the obstacles that prevent us from getting to the doctor's office scheduling an appointment, digging out the insurance card and plain old procrastination it is good health sense to make the most of your time when you are finally face-to-face with your health care provider.

Prepared Patient: Medical Testing: You Need Answers

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | December 20, 2010 | Health Behavior News Service

Deborah Lewis got a shock when her pain management clinic called about a recent MRI test: They told me I needed to see an oncologist right away, that I had tumors on my spine. An oncologist did a lot of tests even though he said the MRI report didn't indicate anywhere that I had tumors or cancer. In fact, Lewis just had benign tumors common to her chronic medical condition. After a lot of wasted money, time and a whole lot of fear, we learned to question all test results,' she says.

Clueless In Health Care

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | December 8, 2010 | Chris Gibbons

Some patients don't tell their doctors the full story about their health. Sometimes physicians aren't aware of the omission; others know the patient is withholding information. Either way, physicians are responsible for the decisions they make regarding what they know and do for these patients. Electronic health records will not change this reality.

More Can Also Be Less: We Need a More Complete Public Discussion about Comparative Effectiveness

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | December 1, 2010 | Jessie Gruman

Media coverage of the government's new investment in comparative effectiveness research leans heavily toward the effects of such research on new drugs and technologies: Will such evaluations lead to restricted access to the latest innovations? Will insurance no longer cover a drug that might give my aunt another year to live? Will such research hinder the development of a drug that could cure my nephew of type 1 diabetes?

Talking About Medical Tests With Your Health Care Team

PREPARED PATIENT ARTICLE

Whether you're healthy or ill, there are a variety of medical tests your health care team might recommend for you.

After Visit Summary - Little Things Mean a Lot

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | November 19, 2010 | Jim Sabin

When I was in high school, the singer Kitty Kallen had a #1 hit - "Little Things Mean a Lot." The ballad is decidedly uncool by current standards, but as a teen-ager I liked its romantic dreaminess. The song popped into my mind as I was musing about the after visit summary I was given at the end of an appointment with my primary care physician yesterday.

Prepared Patient: Your Doctor's Office, Demystified

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | November 17, 2010 | Health Behavior News Service

Long gone are the days when all nurses sported identical uniforms and only physicians wore white coats and scrubs. Today, when visiting your doctor's office, it can be difficult to know with whom you're speaking and what role they play in your health care.

Patient Perspectives: Dogs, Seeing a New GP, D-Blog Day and Mechanics v. Docs

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | November 11, 2010 | CFAH Staff

A collection of patient voices from around the web. This week's roundup includes: Dana Jennings of the New York Times, RA Warrior Kelly Young, Leighann Calentine from D-Mom Blog: the Sweet Life with a Diabetic Child, and the Patient Empowerment Blog's Trisha Torrey.

Inside Health Care: Combating Mis-Communication

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | October 27, 2010 | Inside Health Care

Now or Later

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | October 26, 2010 | Chris Gibbons

The October 19 edition of iHealthBeat is reporting that National Coordinator for Health IT David Blumenthal and HHS Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health Garth Graham have asked health IT vendors for their help in preventing a "digital divide" involving health care providers who serve minority communities. Blumenthal and Graham called on these vendors to make sure they target such health care providers in their marketing and sales campaigns.

What Can Health Care Professionals Do About Poverty?

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | October 20, 2010 | Connie Davis

A colleague of mine, Cheryl, has been trying to help a solo physician address a thorny issue. Through the use of 'How's Your Health', an amazing Web-based suite of health and practice tools, the physician realized that many of her patients struggled with maintaining an adequate income. Cheryl went looking for some ideas for the physician, and she came across this: Health Providers Against Poverty, an Ontario-based group that has a toolkit to help primary care professionals address poverty issues.

Communication Complications

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | October 1, 2010 | Chris Gibbons

A recently published study in the August issue of Archives of Internal Medicine reveals that there are significant gaps between what doctors think their patients know and what patients say they know. The findings are based on a survey of 89 patients and 43 physicians conducted between October 2008 and June 2009 at Waterbury Hospital affiliated with Yale School of Medicine. Researchers found that some of the discrepancies relate to basic information. For example, two-thirds of physicians thought patients knew their names. But only 18 percent of patients could correctly say their names.

Talking About Symptoms With Your Health Care Team

PREPARED PATIENT ARTICLE

"What brings you here today?" It's a simple question that's at the heart of many patient-doctor conversations, but it's not a question to take lightly.

New Solid Evidence Showing the Impact of Physician Communication on Our Engagement in Care

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | August 19, 2010 | Jessie Gruman

Ask us if we are more likely to use a medication as directed if our doctors explain why a specific drug might be helpful, how to take it so that it is most effective and what its possible side effects are and then discuss whether we think we are willing and able to take it.

Patient-Centered Care Should Minimize Post-Surgical Surprises

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | August 17, 2010 | Jessie Gruman

Rick Hamlin, in an op-ed essay last week, recounted how his surgeon assured him that he would be able to go on a family vacation to Spain three weeks after his open-heart surgery. In the New York Times piece, Rick described his disappointment and despair at the unexpected six months of fatigue, pain and depression that constituted his recovery.

You Want Me to Discover WHAT on My Personal Health Record?

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | August 3, 2010 | Jessie Gruman

The Robert Wood Johnson-funded Project HealthDesign primer on Personal Health Records (PHRs) describes the new PHR both as a repository for information related to one's health care and a way to record observations about daily living (ODLs). We're meant to track these observations the amount and quality of our sleep; what we ate; our blood pressure; our symptoms in the belief that such information will shape daily decisions and allow for a more productive discussion with (our) clinician.

Paying to Participate

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | July 14, 2010 | Goldie Pyka

Obama and My Uncle Johnny

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | July 2, 2010 | Kafi Grigsby

I was home relaxing when I received a call from Uncle Johnny. When I saw on the Caller-ID that it was him, I braced myself. Calls with my Uncle Johnny were never brief, by nature he was loud so I had to yell too, and his conversations always involved more than a few swear words. My uncle has been described as a gun not a pistol, but a gun!

Open Wide and Say Uh-oh

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | June 22, 2010 | Sarah Jorgenson

I had been delaying this visit for awhile now in hope that whatever was growing under my tongue would heal itself. I'd already exhausted visits with a dentist and a physician assistant, but an oral surgeon just sounded so intense for what I presumed was not that big of a deal.

Do Health Threats Migrate?

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | June 7, 2010 | Jessie Gruman

Have you ever gotten one of those phone calls from your doctor the starts out I'm very concerned about what we saw in your mammogram/colonoscopy/echocardiogram?

The Perils of Consenting Adults

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | June 1, 2010 | Jessie Gruman

Most of us like it when our health care decisions are simple and straightforward -- when the potential benefit of one option far outweighs the benefits and risks of the other. Should I smoke? No. Should I get a mammogram? Yes. However, advances in screening, preventive measures, diagnostic technologies and treatments have rendered our preference for the certainty of the simple choice obsolete.

What is a Symptom, Anyway?

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | April 14, 2010 | Jessie Gruman

I recently asked my dad if he ever reads the health section of the newspaper. He said "Nope, never. That's for people who are sick."

Doctor, Please Pull Up a Chair or a Keyboard?

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | April 9, 2010 | Dorothy Jeffress

Yesterday, our Health Headlines included a study mentioned in the Washington Post that revealed that we are more comfortable and satisfied with our communications with our clinicians when they sit down to talk with us. This study surveyed patients while in a hospital but surely this is true in office visit settings too.

Everyone Doesn't Call it the Blues

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | April 7, 2010 | Dorothy Jeffress

In a recent HBNS research news story, from a study in the journal, General Hospital Psychiatry, we reported that stigma prevents many Latinos from receiving treatment from depression. The study points out that many Latinos prefer to handle personal problems or concerns privately and may resist seeking treatment.

Effective Patienthood Begins with Good Communication

PREPARED PATIENT ARTICLE

Given all the obstacles that prevent us from getting to the doctor's office — scheduling an appointment, digging out the insurance card and plain old procrastination — it is good health sense to make the most of your time when you are finally face-to-face with your health care provider. Easier said than done, says health researcher Sherrie Kaplan.