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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.
Sooner or later, most patients run up against a diagnosis that sends them from their primary care doctor's care into the hands of a new physician. In medical circles, this transition is called the "handoff" — a casual name that conceals the complications and risks of this journey.
"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.
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.
Most treatments have some sort of side effect associated with them, and many of us may wonder if side effects are simply the price we must pay for a necessary treatment. But side effects shouldn't be taken lightly, for a number of reasons.
For some patients, delaying treatment while regularly monitoring the progress of disease may benefit them more than a rush to pharmaceutical or surgical options.
New health review sites promise to help you make this important decision for yourself or your loved ones. However, patients and physicians alike are finding that these doctor reviews aren’t as transparent or useful as they might seem.
Your parents still might be willing to do your laundry, but if you’re over 18, they can’t make your medical decisions. Are you ready to navigate the adult health care system?
We've all heard about well-baby visits, but if you're a healthy adult, you probably have no plan to see a doctor. When there's nothing to complain about, many of us go years without a comprehensive medical check-up.
The quality of doctors and hospitals varies. Here is information to help you find the right care.
It can be hard to decide just when to go to the doctor or other medical professional for a problem. These resources can help you make the call.
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.
Got a new prescription? Here are some tips for managing your new medication.
Describing your symptoms well can help provide clues to what’s wrong. Here’s advice on how to tell your story.
Recovering from a knee replacement is difficult under the best of circumstances, but for Herminia Briones, the year following her surgery was filled with unexpected pain, complications and confusion. Her repeated attempts to draw attention to her problems went unheeded, beginning an unfortunate and not uncommon struggle with medical error. Why do medical errors happen and how can you help protect yourself from harm?
Whether you have a preexisting condition or not, are new to shopping for insurance or trying to figure out what coverage you do have, there are resources to help with this often complicated but important purchase.
Seek insurance and manage the worrisome chores of arranging and paying for care.
Find accurate information that helps you with choices about your health.
We must understand what our treatment choices are and their risks and benefits.
Sometimes, choosing a hospital is a matter of picking the one closest to you, the one where your doctor works. But if you have options, there are resources to help select the best one for you.
Choosing a doctor and building a relationship with him or her is an important first step to getting and staying healthy.
Here's advice on how to locate a new physician to make sure you get care that fits your needs.
Every year more than 5 million people in the United States spend time in intensive care units for acute injuries or life-threatening illnesses. For patients, family members and friends, the ICU experience is often emotional and confusing.
Knowing who you will likely encounter during an ER visit may help you get the best care at a time when you may be feeling anxious and afraid.
You're sick, but your doctor's office says the next open appointment is in two weeks. Or you're traveling, don't have a primary care physician or don't have health insurance. For all these reasons and more, potential patients are turning increasingly to retail clinics to cure their minor ailments.
Consumers are awash in information they can use to find the best deals on everything from dishwashers to car insurance. But is it possible to comparison shop for a hospital?
All patients have their stories of hassles: hustling against traffic to inconvenient doctor appointments, not to mention waiting on hold to schedule a follow-up visit. But what if you couldn't read the road signs on your way or hear the options on your physician's answering service?
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.
Doctor’s appointments are often brief. Here’s how to quickly explain what’s wrong so you can get the help you need.
If you expect to miss work due to your or a loved one’s illness, here’s what to tell your employer.
How to ask your doctor questions so that you can understand your diagnosis and treatment options.
Sometimes treatment can produce troubling side effects. Here’s how to recognize them and what to do if you have them.
How to get a copy of your medical records for your personal files and for your doctors.
Different doctors can suggest different diagnoses or ways to treat your illness. Here’s how to decide whether you should get a second opinion.
These 10 steps will help you get the information you need for your doctor’s appointment.
Want to find out more about the treatments your doctors suggest? Here are some resources for doing your research and comparing your options.
Doctors can sometimes use unfamiliar and complicated terms to describe your illness and treatment. Here are some resources to help you understand.
Part of participating in your treatment is remembering to take your medication as prescribed. This task can get difficult if you aren’t feeling well or are juggling multiple prescriptions
Sometimes it can be easier to live well with help from others. Here are some helpful sites to connect with organizations and people who understand what you’re going through.
You could be at risk for disease based on your age, health behaviors or family history. Here’s how to find out.
Here are a few suggestions for reliable, accurate online health information.
Want to learn how to separate quality health information from inaccurate or even dangerous websites? Here’s some advice.
Sometimes, the best treatment is to wait and see. Learn more about watchful waiting.
Is it OK to seek a second (or a third, or a fourth) opinion on your diagnosis? Many people feel uncomfortable with the idea that they are questioning the authority or expertise of their physician.
Where do you turn when your health care team reaches an impasse, even as an urgent medical problem calls for decisions and choices that you simply don't feel qualified to make?
As patients pay more for their prescription drugs, many people decide to cut their pills in half or opt out of taking the drugs altogether. But there are safer ways to cut costs than skimping on — or skipping — the medicines you need.
From high cholesterol to HIV, millions of Americans have a medical condition that they manage mostly on their own. How do you know when it’s time to call in the professionals?
Learn about long-term care and whether you need long-term care insurance.
What to do if your health insurance denies you coverage for a procedure.
Prescription drugs can be expensive. Here’s how to get help paying for them and finding lower cost options.
It can be hard to figure out how much your health care will cost ahead of time. Here are some tips for preparing for the cost of your procedures.
Learn more about the U.S. government’s health insurance programs for older adults and people with low-incomes and resources.
Don’t know a deductible from a premium? Here’s a helpful guide to health insurance terms.
Don’t have health insurance? Here’s advice on how to find the right insurance for your needs.
More and more employers are offering workplace wellness programs-but do they work?
Quick tips for integrating healthy habits into your work day
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.