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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"...

What Color Is My Pill, Doc? Using Technology to Improve Medication Compliance

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | December 9, 2014 | Kevin Campbell

In general, today's patients are taking more medications for a multitude of ailments. Even for the most astute patients, keeping track of doses and regimens can be a challenge. Add in changes in color and appearance of chronic medications and the task can often be overwhelming, especially for elderly patients with cognitive decline. We must look for alternative ways to assist our patients with managing their disease while at home. I believe technology is the answer...

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?

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...

Depression and Dementia in Older Adults Increase Risk of Preventable Hospitalizations

HBNS STORY | November 20, 2014

Older adults with mental health conditions, such as depression or cognitive impairment, have a higher risk of readmission within 30 days after a hospital stay for pneumonia, heart attack or congestive heart failure, according to a new study in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Taking an Active Role in Your Recovery

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | November 12, 2014 | Alexandra Rosas

I was once someone who never felt that I'd be normal again. But recovery is made up of small steps that lead us to a successful life – these steps toward wellness matter, because being active versus passive about your recovery greatly increases the likelihood of a positive outcome...

Chronic Care Coordinators Improve Diabetes Monitoring But Not Blood Sugar Control

HBNS STORY | November 11, 2014

Getting support from a chronic care coordinator increases blood-glucose testing and foot and eye exams in people with type 2 diabetes, but it may not improve blood-sugar control, a new study in the journal Health Services Research indicates.

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...

'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...

Teens World-Wide Self-Medicate With Over-the-Counter and Prescription Drugs

HBNS STORY | September 23, 2014

Adolescents around the world are frequently using over-the-counter and prescription medications without a doctor’s order, a risky practice that can lead to overuse and abuse and is often continued into adulthood, reveals a new review in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

A Preventable Medical Error Hits Home

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | September 16, 2014 | Darla Dernovsek

My 77-year-old parents were recently impacted by a medical error. The good news is that the story ends happily. The bad news is that it could have been averted simply by checking the date on lab tests...

Elderly Who Have Had Serious Falls May Show Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress

HBNS STORY | September 11, 2014

Older adults who experience a serious fall may develop symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the days following the event, finds a study published in General Hospital Psychiatry.

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

Counseling Has Limited Benefit on Young People Drinking Alcohol

HBNS STORY | August 21, 2014

Counseling techniques used to help young people with drinking problems may be of limited benefit, suggests a new review in The Cochrane Library.

Mental Health Screening in Primary Care Helps Veterans

HBNS STORY | August 12, 2014

Veterans who receive mental health screening during primary care visits are generally getting adequate follow-up treatment, but the process for acquiring care could be improved, finds a new study in General Hospital Psychiatry.

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...

AfterShock: Facing a Serious Diagnosis App

The free app AfterShock: Facing a Serious Diagnosis offers a basic roadmap through the first few days and weeks after a serious diagnosis, providing concise information and trusted resources to help you regain a bit of control during this turbulent time. Whether your diagnosis is cancer, Alzheimer's disease, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis or another condition, the decisions you make about your care will have an important impact on you and your loved ones.

Inadequate Mental Health Care for Blacks with Depression and Diabetes, High Blood Pressure

HBNS STORY | July 24, 2014

A new study in General Hospital Psychiatry confirms that Blacks with depression plus another chronic medical condition, such as Type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure, do not receive adequate mental health treatment.

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...

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...

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.

Medication Cocktails: Not Every Mix Is Safe

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | May 5, 2014 | CFAH Staff

One in every five older Americans takes medications that work against each other. And some interactions between prescription drugs and supplements can pose dangerous health risks. So what must we do to make sure that we benefit from the drugs we take?

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.

Are We Cowboys or Managers of Our Chronic Conditions?

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | April 23, 2014 | Jessie Gruman

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

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

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | April 16, 2014 | Jessie Gruman

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

My Partner, My Memory

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | April 15, 2014 | Barbara Kivowitz

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

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...

A Phone Call from a Pharmacist Can Reduce Some Hospital Admissions

HBNS STORY | April 10, 2014

Pharmacist-patient telephone consultations appear to reduce hospitalizations in patients who are least at risk, finds a new study in Health Services Research.

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...

Weight Loss Efforts Start Well, but Lapse Over Time

HBNS STORY | April 8, 2014

Learning you have an obesity-related disease motivates many to start a weight loss program, but troubling health news is often not enough to sustain weight loss efforts, finds new research in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

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

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | April 1, 2014 | Carolyn Thomas

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

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...

Is a Daily Dose of Many Pills in Your Future?

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | March 17, 2014 | Andrew Schorr

I recently had breakfast with an aging cousin, Walter, who has become infirm in his senior years. I knew he had several doctors and took medicine. It wasn't until breakfast time, however, that I realized how many medicines Walter took – and I was bowled over...

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?

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.

Hospitalization Increases Risk of Depression and Dementia for Seniors

HBNS STORY | February 27, 2014

People over age 65 who have been hospitalized are at significantly greater risk for dementia or depression, finds a new study in General Hospital Psychiatry.

Men, Elderly, Minorities Not Getting Treated for Depression

HBNS STORY | February 6, 2014

Depression rates are increasing in the U.S. and under-treatment is widespread, especially among certain groups including men, the poor, the elderly and ethnic minorities, finds a new study in General Hospital Psychiatry.

Pills. Lotsa, Lotsa Pills.

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | January 31, 2014 | John Schumann

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

Pre-Surgical Drug May Ease Recovery and Reduce Pain for Kids

HBNS STORY | January 30, 2014

A new evidence review from The Cochrane Library found that administering a drug called clonidine before surgery may be a good alternative for controlling post-surgical pain and help reduce a child’s anxiety after surgery.

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

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | January 15, 2014 | Jessie Gruman

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

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

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...

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...

Who Can Represent Patients?

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | January 2, 2014 | Kate Lorig

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

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...

Significant Economic Losses When Young Women Die From Breast Cancer

HBNS STORY | December 12, 2013

In 2008, breast cancer deaths in women under age 50 cost the economy $5.49 billion in productivity and resulted in an estimated 7.98 million years of potential life lost, finds a study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

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.

Seven Things I Wish I'd Known Earlier About Cancer Survivorship

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | December 4, 2013 | Jessie Gruman

It is challenging, in the years following a cancer diagnosis, to assemble health care that protects us from the lingering effects of the disease and its treatment and that alerts us to a recurrence or new cancer. I hope these reflections will help those who've been diagnosed with cancer live as long and as well as they can...

Many Patients Have Trouble ID’ing Their Medications

HBNS STORY | December 3, 2013

People who identified their medication by shape, size or color instead of name had poorer adherence and an increased risk of hospitalization, finds a recent study in the Journal of Health Communication: International Perspectives.

For Many People with Diabetes, Lifestyle Changes Trump Medications

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | November 21, 2013 | Milly Dawson

Three key patient engagement themes emerged from this year's 'Diabetes + Innovation 2013' conference in Washington, D.C., organized by Joslin Diabetes Center at Harvard Medical School...

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?

Smartphone Apps to Help Smokers Quit Come Up Short

HBNS STORY | November 14, 2013

Most popular smartphone apps do not include evidence-based practices known to help smokers quit, finds a new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Chronic Pain and Emotional Distress Often Treated With Risky Medications

HBNS STORY | November 12, 2013

People with chronic pain and emotional distress are more likely to be given ongoing prescriptions for opioid drugs, which may not help, finds a new review in General Hospital Psychiatry.

Teen Athletes at Risk for Medication Misuse

HBNS STORY | November 10, 2013

Male adolescents who participate in organized sports are more likely to be prescribed opioid medications and misuse them than male teens that don’t play sports, finds a new study in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

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...

Banning Workplace Smoking Not Enough

HBNS STORY | October 31, 2013

Failing to address the presence of other smokers at home limits the effectiveness of workplace smoking restrictions, finds a new study in American Journal of Health Promotion.

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.

Teens with Chronic Illnesses Find It Hard to Stick to Treatment

HBNS STORY | October 29, 2013

Teens with a variety of chronic illnesses report facing similar barriers to taking their medications, according to a new review in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

You're Not as Invincible as You Think

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | October 21, 2013 | Laurie Edwards

I see firsthand the sense of invincibility that accompanies youth. My students have little reason to believe the long days, the all-nighters, and the jam-packed academic and social lives they lead will catch up to them. It is easy to dismiss patients with chronic illness as the elderly — those who have lived long enough to acquire the inevitable diseases of longevity. This is an incomplete picture of the chronic illness population, however...

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...

Choice: The Secret Sauce of Patient Engagement?

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | October 16, 2013 | Jessie Gruman

As a patient, I ask you: What aspects of my health care are not preference-sensitive? Even patients who have passed control to a trusted clinician or caregiver are eager to reclaim territory lost.

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...

Five Years Later: Zigzagging Toward Acceptance

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | October 8, 2013 | Kathi Kolb

"Your biopsy is positive." None of us ever forgets when we first heard some version of that phrase. I heard it five years ago today...

Exercise Benefits People with Asthma

HBNS STORY | September 24, 2013

People with asthma who engaged in appropriate exercise programs had improved cardiovascular fitness and an overall improved quality of life, finds a new review in The Cochrane Library.

Treating Depression Helps Some Smokers Quit

HBNS STORY | September 19, 2013

Adding mood management strategies to smoking cessation programs helped people with depression or a history of depression quit smoking for longer periods than a standard program, finds a new review in The Cochrane Library

Paying for and Managing Your Medications

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | September 17, 2013 | Be a Prepared Patient

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

What Happens to the Other Half?

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | September 17, 2013 | Paul Meyer

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

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

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | September 11, 2013 | Jessie Gruman

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

The Patient

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | September 4, 2013 | Beth Nash

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

Latest Health Behavior News

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | August 30, 2013 | Health Behavior News Service

This week in health news: For teens, fighting is bad for the brain | Skeptical elderly turn to home remedies | Bedwetting treatments offer help | Green light for eating and drinking during labor

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…

Bedwetting Treatments Offer Help

HBNS STORY | August 20, 2013

Simple treatments for bed-wetting are better than nothing at all, but aren’t as effective as more advanced alarm therapy or drug therapy, according to a new meta-analysis in The Cochrane Library.

Advocacy: The Road We Decide to Walk on Today

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | August 16, 2013 | Debra Madden

In 1986 I developed a cough that didn’t go away for over a year. A chest x-ray confirmed stage 3 Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In the years since, I developed what is now termed as numerous “late effects”. Along the way I learned the importance of advocating for myself and others.

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.

The Tightrope of Chronic Illness

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | August 8, 2013 | Danea Horn

In the most recent newsletter, I talked about wanting to trade bodies with someone...just for one day. This way they could tell you just how freaked you should be about the symptoms you’re experiencing.

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.

Is the Most Important Prescription for Health Care Consumers a Dose of Healthy Skepticism?

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | August 5, 2013 | Wendy Lynch

Here’s a wonderful idea: patients and providers working together in shared decision-making, accepting and trusting each other’s input. Isn’t that the goal our health care system should strive for? Not so fast.

Being Your Own Advocate

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | August 2, 2013 | Angie Dresie

In 2010, I had surgery to remove a 2-inch heart tumor in my left atrium, the costs for which were astronomical, but that is not what I am writing about. I am writing about what happened in the months after my surgery and a cure that cost $9.19 if you don’t count all of the unnecessary doctor visits and procedures.

I Wish I Had Known Earlier...That For Many of Us, Symptoms and Late Effects Accumulate Rather Than Fade Over Time

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | July 31, 2013 | Jessie Gruman

The side effects of cancer treatment sometimes fade but can become permanent glitches — disturbing symptoms whose impact we try to mitigate and whose presence we attempt to accommodate.

Patients Are Waiting to Partner: Invite Them to Participate

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | July 30, 2013 | Tracy Granzyk

In a recent Baltimore Sun piece, healthcare writer Marie McCarren wrote an op-ed providing “A prescription for fewer medical errors” — reflections from an emergency room visit with her husband that later turned into a stay on the intensive care unit. McCarren emphasized the need for healthcare providers to work at clearly communicating the ways in which family members of patients can help make care safer.

Cumulative Burden: The Real Barrier to Adherence for Complex Patients?

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | July 26, 2013 | Donna Cryer

Recently, I participated in an excellent meeting, (Patient Summit USA 2013), whose primary theme was patient adherence. Thankfully the other speakers had all moved beyond the notion that "patients forget to take their medication" and that adherence can be solved by fancy pill caps or bottles; yet I was struck that most did not yet fully appreciate the challenges of a complete adherence picture, particularly for patients on multiple therapies.

I Wish I Had Known Earlier...Not Every Oncologist Can or Should Deliver Survivorship Care

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | July 24, 2013 | Jessie Gruman

We are not the only ones who must be convinced that we have unique health concerns following the active treatment of our cancer. Clinicians must also believe that special care for us is important, and they have to learn how to provide that care.

Patient Non-Adherence (Like Engagement) Is a Physician-Patient Communication Challenge – Not a Health Information Technology Challenge

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | July 23, 2013 | Stephen Wilkins

Have you noticed all the articles in the health care press lately touting health information technologies’ ability to increase patient medication adherence? Smart phone-based apps, Smart pill bottles and Patient Portals are all about trying to get patients to do something (take a medication) which some physician somewhere has deemed to be the right thing for the patient to do. Some would call this process of generating adherence patient engagement.

Why This Family Doctor Blogs and Writes

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | July 18, 2013 | Davis Liu

As a doctor, I am compelled to write because of what I know is occurring with alarming frequency in our country. Americans are skipping needed and recommended care that could save their lives and allow them to live to their fullest. Patients are more distracted, as life is more complicated and busier than ever. Households have both parents working, sometimes two jobs, just to make ends meet.

Patient-Centeredness Is the Intuitive Grasping of Health Care Quality

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | July 15, 2013 | Aanand Naik

The key to improving the health outcomes of our older patients (and the overall quality of our healthcare system) is through re-investment in dialogue between patients and clinicians and a strengthening of trust within the patient-clinician relationship.

Later Cord Clamping After Birth Increases Iron Levels in Babies

HBNS STORY | July 11, 2013

Delaying clamping of the umbilical cord after birth benefits newborn babies, according to a systematic review published in The Cochrane Library.

What I Wish I’d Known Earlier about Cancer Survivorship

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | July 10, 2013 | Jessie Gruman

I have been treated for five different cancer diagnoses. Some would call me a cancer survivor. I call me lucky...

Lower Coronary Heart Disease Deaths By Making Several Lifestyle Changes

HBNS STORY | July 9, 2013

Programs to address multiple health behaviors, such as diet and exercise, significantly lowered the risk of a fatal heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular event in people with coronary heart disease, finds a new review in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Hispanic and Black Kids Less Likely to Use Medication to Control Asthma

HBNS STORY | June 27, 2013

Black and Hispanic children with asthma are less likely than White children to use long-term asthma control medications, finds a new study in Health Services Research.

Father Knows Best

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | June 14, 2013 | Red Maxwell

Unlike network television, life with diabetes can't be solved within reasonable time limits. It takes perseverance, patience and huge helpings of hope.

Traditional Research Leaves Out a Critical Stakeholder: Patients

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | June 13, 2013 | Leana Wen

What’s wrong with the following picture? Two medical researchers at a major academic center collaborate to study disease X. They come up with the research question, design the project, obtain grants, and collect data. Their results are published in a scientific journal and presented at several medical conferences. Based on this first study, the researchers start another cycle of idea generation, data generation, and publication.

Quitting Smoking: Licensed Medications Are Effective

HBNS STORY | June 6, 2013

Nicotine replacement therapy and other licensed drugs can help people quit smoking, according to a new systematic review published in The Cochrane Library.

Probiotics Prevent Diarrhea Related To Antibiotic Use

HBNS STORY | June 6, 2013

Probiotic supplements have the potential to prevent diarrhea caused by antibiotics, according to a new review in The Cochrane Library.

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.

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.

Alcohol and Mental Health Problems a Costly Combo for ICU Patients

HBNS STORY | April 16, 2013

People admitted to a hospital ICU with alcohol withdrawal were more likely to be readmitted or die within a year if they had a co-existing mental health condition, finds a new study in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

Has Patient Engagement Stalled?

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | April 10, 2013 | Jessie Gruman

A few discouraging reports on patient engagement have skittered across my desk in the past few weeks. What's going on? Why are so many of us so slow to engage in our care when it is increasingly clear that we will do better if we participate more fully? Here's what I suspect...

Health Care Consumers Are Compromised By Complex Information

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | April 4, 2013 | Jane Sarasohn Kahn

Americans have embraced their role as consumers in virtually every aspect of life: making travel plans, trading stock, developing photos, and purchasing goods like cars and washing machines. That is, in every aspect of life but health care.

Diabetes: Computer Based Interventions Provide Limited Support

HBNS STORY | March 28, 2013

Self-management interventions delivered by computer and mobile phone currently provide limited benefits for people with diabetes, according to a systematic review published in The Cochrane Library.

An Open Letter to Mobile Health App Developers and Their Funders

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | February 13, 2013 | Jessie Gruman

Two recent experiences left me ornery and impatient about the current state of mobile health apps. Why haven’t they just taken off?

Diabetes + Depression = Increased Risk of Death

HBNS STORY | February 13, 2013

People living with diabetes who also have untreated depression are at increased risk of death, according to a recent evidence review in General Hospital Psychiatry.

AfterShock: What to Do When the Doctor Gives You - Or Someone You Love - A Devastating Diagnosis

I wrote this book in the hope that this information, these insights, and these experiences will provide its readers with a sense of their choices without making them feel overwhelmed by what they must learn and do after receiving a devastating diagnosis.

Cancer Survivorship: What I Wish I'd Known Earlier

In these essays, I reflect on what I wish I'd known earlier about getting good care following active cancer treatment for five different cancer diagnoses, based on my own experience and what I have learned from others.

When Pain Doesn't End

PREPARED PATIENT ARTICLE

Chronic pain is one of the most difficult--and common--medical conditions. Estimated to affect 76 million Americans, it accompanies illnesses and injuries ranging from cancer to various forms of arthritis, multiple sclerosis and physical trauma.

Managing Your Medications

PREPARED PATIENT RESOURCE | Participate in Your Treatment

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

Handling Treatment Side Effects

PREPARED PATIENT RESOURCE | Participate in Your Treatment

Sometimes treatment can produce troubling side effects. Here’s how to recognize them and what to do if you have them.

Cutting Through ICU Confusion

PREPARED PATIENT ARTICLE

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.

Hospitals: Are We All Talking?

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | January 22, 2013 | Elaine Waples

Complications from my cancer sent me to the hospital again recently. The news that I was in trouble came unexpectedly from my oncologist’s office on Thanksgiving eve, following a routine blood test. “Your liver numbers are out of whack.” My response was “Really?” as if I’d been notified that my driver’s license had expired.

Participate in Your Treatment

PREPARED PATIENT RESOURCE | Participate in Your Treatment

Better health is more likely when we agree on a plan of action with our doctor and follow it.

Early Intervention for Premature Infants Increases IQ

HBNS STORY | December 20, 2012

Programs aimed at helping premature infants and their families once they leave the hospital have been found to increase IQ in the period up to school age and improve cognitive skills, finds a new review in The Cochrane Library.

Most People with Hepatitis C Go Untreated, Despite Effective Drugs

HBNS STORY | December 10, 2012

Just 20 percent of people infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) begin the recommended treatment regimen and less than 5 percent go on to successfully overcome the virus, according to a new review in General Hospital Psychiatry. Untreated substance abuse and depression are among the barriers to care.

Patients with ICU Delirium More Likely to Die

HBNS STORY | December 6, 2012

Delirium, a condition developed by many patients in hospital intensive care units (ICU), is associated with higher mortality rates, more complications, longer stays in the ICU, and longer hospitalizations, finds a new meta-analysis in General Hospital Psychiatry.

Reducing Your Risk of Medical Errors

PREPARED PATIENT ARTICLE

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?

Study: '91% discharged from hospital without care plan'

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | November 15, 2012 | Carolyn Thomas

When I was discharged from hospital following my heart attack, I was wheelchaired down to the front door, patted on the head, and waved off with a small pile of brochures and a follow-up appointment in six weeks'?? time.

Patient Satisfaction: Quality, Cost and the New Rules of Engagement

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | November 6, 2012 | Holly Korda

It's not enough for patients to be merely satisfied with their health care. Our expectations and perceptions of the patient experience vary widely, but at the end of the day what we seek is health care that is patient-centered: care that meets our needs. Patient-centered care requires patient engagement and self-efficacy, our active participation in our health and disease management.

Getting Lab Results, Just for Doctors or Patients too?

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | October 5, 2012 | Inside Health Care

When it comes to getting your lab results, do you want to be the first to know or would you rather wait for your doctor to review them?

Guest Blog: 'I Care about You' and Other Things to Say to Sick Friends

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | September 14, 2012 | Carolyn Thomas

In honour of National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week, I think I'll talk about what to say when somebody you care about is ill - rather than the well-meaning (but often annoying) greeting: 'You look great!'

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.

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.

Home Alone? Discharge Planning Starts at Hospital Admission

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | August 1, 2012 | Jessie Gruman

“...If you need a wheel chair to take you to the door, I’ll call for one. If not, you can go home. Take care of yourself. You are going to do great!” Now I am a sucker for encouraging words, but right then, I panicked...It was 8:45 in the morning. My husband hadn’t yet arrived. I was free to walk out the [hospital] door.

Research that Incorporates the Patient's Perspective

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | July 17, 2012 | Conversation Continues

Josh Freeman, M.D., argues for research that looks at the patient as a whole. CFAH President Jessie Gruman cautions that if researchers are not advised, supported, and required to include the patient's perspective, it will not occur.

Six Things Patients Want from Social Media

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | June 27, 2012 | Jessie Gruman

A few weeks ago, I spoke at the Connecting Healthcare + Social Media conference in New York about what we patients want from health social media. Michelle McNickle, New Media Producer for Healthcare IT News wrote the following piece summarizing my talk and the '6 things patients want from social media.'

Guest Blog: The App Gap: Why Baby Boomers Won't Use Most Smart Phone Apps

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | June 25, 2012 | Val Jones

Along with the invention of smart phones, an entire medical mobile application (app) industry has cropped up, promising patients enhanced connectivity, health data collection, and overall care quality at lower costs...For all the hype about robo-grannies, aging in place technologies, and how high tech solutions will reduce healthcare costs, the reality is that these hopes are unlikely to be achieved with the baby boomer generation.

The Psychology of the Surgical Waiting Room: Personal Observations and Adventures in Waiting

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | June 21, 2012 | Kevin Campbell

After being on the 'other side' of medicine, Kevin R. Campbell, M.D., experienced the stressors of waiting for someone going through surgery and has learned ways to improve his practices as a clinician to help make the experience less worrisome for loved ones.

A Recommendation to Minimize Costs Backfires

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | June 15, 2012 | Alexis Ball

My mom passed away last December to Stage V breast cancer metastasized to her liver. During this battle she developed ascites (an accumulation of fluid in the peritoneal cavity) as her liver failure progressed. This accumulation of fluid was not only extremely uncomfortable but painful as well.

Guest Blog: Dangers of Uncoordinated Care: A Son Reflects on His Father's Passing

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | June 1, 2012 | Neil Versel

Neil Versel shares his personal experience of his dad's passing and the lack of quality of care that he received at one hospital contrasted with well-managed care at another facility. He wants to educate as many people about the disease his father had (multiple system atrophy), the dangers of uncoordinated care and poorly designed workflows.

I'm Not Taking That Drug if it Makes Me Itch! More on Medication Adherence

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | May 2, 2012 | Jessie Gruman

Our unwillingness to take our medicine as directed is often mistakenly viewed by clinicians and researchers as a sign that we are not engaged in our care. Baloney. Many of us would be perfectly happy to do so were it not for those pesky side effects.

Minimally Disruptive Health Care: Treatment that Fits

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | April 26, 2012 | Marcus Escobedo

My mom has always worked hard'.Now on Medicare and about to retire after 30 years, she will have to continue working hard, as will my retired father. I'm not talking about the time they'll spend maintaining their home or raising grandchildren. I'm talking about the difficult work that they, like millions of others, grudgingly started as they began approaching 65 ' the work of managing their multiple chronic conditions.

Guest Blog: Illness is Not Discrete. On Feeling Sick, and Not Knowing What's Next

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | April 25, 2012 | Elaine Schattner

A few days ago, the room around me started spinning. I wished I were Jack Kerouac , so it wouldn't matter if my thoughts were clear but that I tapped them out. Rat tat tat. Or Frank Sinatra with a cold. You'd want to know either of those guys, in detail. Up-close, loud, even breathing on you. You'd hire 'em. Because even when they're down, they're good. Handsome. Cool, slick, unforgettable. Illness doesn't capture or define them.

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.

Defining Patient Engagement

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | April 3, 2012 | Anne Polta

Everyone in health care is talking these days about patient engagement, but a funny thing happened on the way to the discussion: There doesn't seem to be a widely agreed-on definition of what this actually means.

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.

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.

Less Than 10% of People Manage Health via Mobile: A Reality Check on Remote Health Monitoring

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | March 1, 2012 | Jane Sarasohn Kahn

With mobile health consumer market projections ranging from $7 billion to $43 billion,a casual reader might think that a plethora of health citizens are tracking their health, weight, food intake, exercise and other observations of daily living by smartphones and tablets.

Diabetes: 'Valuable Truths about Food and Consequences'

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | February 13, 2012 | Conversation Continues

From celebrity chefs, to health news journalists, to the National Institutes of Health people are talking about the increasing rate of diabetes, what causes it, and what to do about it.

'Patient Engagement!' Our Skin is in the Game

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | February 8, 2012 | Jessie Gruman

The idea that we should actively participate in our health care now attracts attention akin to the discovery of a cure for the common cold.

The Persistence of Medical Error

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | January 17, 2012 | Conversation Continues

The hospital can be a frightening place without having to worry about common medical errors that can complicate your treatment and recovery. Why do so many hospitals still struggle to prevent medical errors, how do they happen, and what's the solution?

1st Person: Acute Pain: Sudden Impact

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | December 30, 2011 | First Person

Dr. Jan Adams has had more than her share of painful experiences. A retired general practitioner and mother of two who practiced 'womb-to-tomb' medicine, she conducted humanitarian work around the world, notably with medical clown Patch Adams (no relation).

1st Person: Pain: a Constant Companion

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | December 29, 2011 | First Person

Teresa Shaffer has suffered from chronic pain from degenerative joint disease since she underwent six months of bedrest during her third pregnancy.

Prepared Patient: When Pain Doesn't End

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | December 29, 2011 | Health Behavior News Service

At 24, Teresa Shaffer, began a decades-long journey through chronic pain, eventually receiving a diagnosis of degenerative joint disease. Although she was wheelchair-bound at one point, today, at 47, through water therapy, medication, exercise, counseling and perseverance, Shaffer is able to walk on her own and manage her pain as well as serving as an advocate for other pain patients. Kelly Young has suffered constant pain from her rheumatoid arthritis for the last five years. A mother of five, 46-year-old Young copes with her illness with a mix of medications, grit and advocacy work.

1st Person: Cancer Diagnosis Can't Squash His Spirit

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | December 28, 2011 | First Person

Twelve years ago, Syd Ball's local urologist told him that prostate-removal surgery and radiation therapy were his only options to treat his early stage prostate cancer. After a second opinion from a urologic oncologist at Johns Hopkins University, Syd participated in active surveillance to avoid the serious side effects associated with treating prostate cancer.

1st Person: After Years of Treatment, a Time to Wait

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | December 28, 2011 | First Person

For many freshmen, the first year of college is devoted to classes, work and socializing, with little thought given to health or longevity. But for Nikkie Hartmann, a Chicago-based public relations professional, the start of her college career also marked the start of 14 years of dealing with cancer.

1st Person: My Post-Op Problems Were Brushed Aside

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | December 15, 2011 | First Person

Instead of enjoying a full recovery, Herminia Briones experienced distressing new symptoms the year following her knee-replacement surgery.

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | December 14, 2011 | Jessie Gruman

That old Tom Petty song, 'The Waiting is the Hardest Part,' keeps running through my mind. Four of my friends are waiting to hear the results of medical tests taken last week.

Guest Blog: Terms of Engagement: Co-Creating Our Future with Patients

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | December 12, 2011 | Gary Oftedahl

Today, physicians are confronted with an explosion of new technology, increasingly complex interventions, and an evolving focus on the need for longitudinal support of health issues, requiring increased involvement of our patients. While we may use different terms'engagement, involvement, empowerment, activation'in our discussions, all of them speak to the need to have active participation from patients and, in many cases, their family and other caregivers.

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.

Doing Things Right: Why Three Hospitals Didn't Harm My Wife

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | December 6, 2011 | Michael Millenson

My wife was lying in the back of an ambulance, dazed and bloody, while I sat in the front, distraught and distracted. We had been bicycling in a quiet neighborhood in southern Maine when she hit the handbrakes too hard and catapulted over the handlebars, turning our first day of vacation into a race to the nearest hospital.

Don't Miss the Chance to Engage Us in Our Care When Introducing Patient-Centered Innovations

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | November 30, 2011 | Jessie Gruman

I believe that it is unrealistic to expect that we will easily understand and ably engage in team care, shared decision making, care coordination and make use of patient portals of EHRs. Each of these carries the risk of being misunderstood by us in ways that further disenfranchise our efforts and good will unless it is discussed ' and recognized ' as the valuable tool it is.

Who Will Help Cancer Survivors Stay Healthy When Treatment is Over?

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | November 16, 2011 | Jessie Gruman

It is completely understandable if you associate the term 'cancer survivor' with an image of glamorous, defiant Gloria Gaynor claiming that She. Will. Survive. Or maybe with a courageous Lance Armstrong in his quest to reclaim the Tour de France. Or perhaps it is linked for you with heroic rhetoric and pink-related racing, walking and shopping.

Guest Blog: A Patient's Perspective on Improving Care Transitions

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | October 28, 2011 | Donna Cryer

Two recent speaking engagements provided me the opportunity to think deeply about the discharge process, an area of healthcare delivery rampant with errors and missed opportunities to support sustained healing and health for patients.

The Whole Package: Improving Medication Adherence

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | September 23, 2011 | Conversation Continues

Over-the-counter and prescription drugs are sold with instructions either on the package itself or in accompanying materials. Alas, research has shown that many people find this medication information confusing and thus do not take their medications correctly ' or at all. Can interventions like drug fact panels, reminder packaging and "integrated" health systems help solve the problem?

1st Person: Acute Pain: Sudden Impact

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | September 22, 2011 | First Person

Dr. Jan Adams has had more than her share of painful experiences. A retired general practitioner and mother of two who practiced 'womb-to-tomb' medicine, she conducted humanitarian work around the world, notably with medical clown Patch Adams (no relation).

Prepared Patient: Getting the Right Help for Acute Pain

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | September 22, 2011 | Health Behavior News Service

Whether caused by injury, surgery or a toothache so bad it slams you awake in the middle of the night, acute pain is difficult. Receiving prompt and helpful treatment can make all the difference in the world. But lack of care or inadequate care means that the acute pain may develop into chronic agony.

Guest Blog: Who's to Blame for Drug Shortages?

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | September 6, 2011 | Scott Gavura

All the best efforts to practice science-based medicine are for naught when the optimal treatment is unavailable. And that's increasingly the case ' even for life-threatening illnesses. Shortages of prescription drugs, including cancer drugs, seem more frequent and more significant than at any time in the past.

Getting the Right Help for Acute Pain

PREPARED PATIENT ARTICLE

Receiving prompt and helpful treatment for acute pain can make all the difference in the world. But lack of care or inadequate care means that the acute pain may develop into chronic agony.

Guest Blog: Recovery and Healing

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | August 29, 2011 | Katherine Ellington

Medical student Katherine Ellington grapples with reconciling her two roles as daughter and doctor-in-training as her mother recovers from a heart procedure.

The Complexities of Non-Compliance

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | August 18, 2011 | Conversation Continues

In recent discussions about patient non-compliance, Stephen Wilkins, Dr. Stewart Segal and patient Ann Silberman all emphasize that doctor-patient communication is key.

Guest Blog: Can the Blind Lead the Seeing?

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | August 1, 2011 | Amy Berman

Many of you know that eight months ago I was diagnosed with Stage IV inflammatory breast cancer, which has spread to my spine. My incurable diagnosis means that I live with a chronic disease, just like millions of older adults.

Drug Labeling Inside the Box

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | July 20, 2011 | Trudy Lieberman

Reading those lengthy package inserts about the medicines you're taking is a bit like eating peas. You know they are good for you, but your gut says 'yuck.' So odds are you don't bother with all that teensy-tiny fine print, but just take the medicine and hope for the best.

1st Person: Pain: a Constant Companion

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | July 19, 2011 | First Person

Teresa Shaffer has suffered from chronic pain from degenerative joint disease since she underwent six months of bedrest during her third pregnancy.

Prepared Patient: When Pain Doesn't End

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | July 19, 2011 | Health Behavior News Service

At 24, Teresa Shaffer, began a decades-long journey through chronic pain, eventually receiving a diagnosis of degenerative joint disease. Although she was wheelchair-bound at one point, today, at 47, through water therapy, medication, exercise, counseling and perseverance, Shaffer is able to walk on her own and manage her pain'as well as serving as an advocate for other pain patients. Kelly Young has suffered constant pain from her rheumatoid arthritis for the last five years. A mother of five, 46-year-old Young copes with her illness with a mix of medications, grit and advocacy work.

1st Person: I Think So Too

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | July 19, 2011 | First Person

Breast cancer survivor, Lisa Bonchek Adams, blogs about life-changing events including a cancer diagnosis, the sudden death of a family member, and having a child with medical challenges. She combines medical, psychological, and sociological viewpoints to these and other topics. You can read this post and follow her at LisaBAdams.com.

1st Person: You Can Do This

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | June 29, 2011 | First Person

With over 60 You Can Do This videos collected so far, diabetic Kim Vlasnik of Texting My Pancreas uses YouTube to encourage and support people with diabetes.

Treatment for Minority Stroke Patients Improves at Top-ranked Hospitals

HBNS STORY | June 21, 2011

A new study suggests there has been some improvement in reducing the gap in stroke hospitalization between white and minority patients.

Check-In-The-Box Medicine: Can the Blunt Instrument of Policy Shape Our Communication with Clinicians?

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | June 15, 2011 | Jessie Gruman

I sat in a dingy pharmacy near the Seattle airport over the holidays, waiting for an emergency prescription. For over two hours I watched a slow-moving line of people sign a book, pay and receive their prescription(s). The cashier told each customer picking up more than one prescription or a child's prescription to wait on the side.

Conversation Continues: Hospital Discharge Without a Net

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | June 7, 2011 | CFAH Staff

In The Wall Street Journal's Informed Patient column, Laura Landro notes various efforts hospitals are taking to prevent re-admissions, including Boston University Medical Center's use of a virtual nurse named Louise.

1st Person: After Years of Treatment, a Time to Wait

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | June 6, 2011 | First Person

For many freshmen, the first year of college is devoted to classes, work and socializing, with little thought given to health or longevity. But for Nikkie Hartmann, a Chicago-based public relations professional, the start of her college career also marked the start of 14 years of dealing with cancer.

Why Angry Birds Gets More Play Than Health Apps

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | June 1, 2011 | Jessie Gruman

I have been musing about why, despite our fascination with gadgets and timesaving devices, so few of us use the apps and tools that have been developed to help us take care of ourselves.

Why Do People Stop Taking Their Cancer Meds?

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | May 19, 2011 | David Harlow

David Harlow highlights recent research that finds that people stopped taking their cancer medications due to high costs and a burden from taking a number of prescription drugs broadening the picture of poor medication adherence.

No Magic Pill to Cure Poor Medication Adherence

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | May 18, 2011 | Jessie Gruman

You are sick with something-or-other and your doctor writes you a prescription for a medication. She briefly tells you what it's for and how to take it. You go to the pharmacy, pick up the medication, go home and follow the instructions, right? I mean, how hard could it be? Pretty hard, it appears. Between 20 percent to 80 percent of us ' differing by disease and drug ' don't seem to be able to do it.

Researchers Still Searching for Ways to Help Patients Take Their Meds

HBNS STORY | May 12, 2011

Clinicians have tried a variety of ways to encourage people to take prescribed medicines, but a new research review says it is still unclear whether many of these interventions have been effective.

Doctor’s Office Is Usually First Stop in Medication Mishaps

HBNS STORY | May 6, 2011

Medication mishaps are a widely recognized problem in health care and a new study finds that ambulatory care settings, not ERs, deal with them most.

Better Labeling Could Help Thwart Acetaminophen Overdose

HBNS STORY | May 3, 2011

When misused, acetaminophen — marketed as Tylenol — can lead to acute liver failure and worse, often due to accidental overdose by an uninformed consumer. A new small study looks at what’s missing in consumer education and how to overcome those gaps.

1st Person: My Epidemic

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | April 18, 2011 | First Person

Journalist Meg Heckman becomes the source when she shares her experience of living with hepatitis C. She says, The worst thing about having hep C isn't the disease or symptoms, it's the way others perceive you when they find out you have it. Watch this video, which was also featured on the Association of Health Care Journalists Covering Health blog and Stanford's Scope medical blog. Meg's six part 'My Epidemic' series was originally featured in the Concord Monitor.

Inside Health Care: Overtested

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | April 12, 2011 | CFAH Staff

Doctors and an executive vice president share experiences of over-testing and over-treatment in medicine and propose solutions to alleviate the problem by using you.

A Young Father and His Information

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | February 25, 2011 | Bryan Vartabedian

It was sometime in the mid-nineties that parents started showing up in my office with reams of paper. Inkjet printouts of independently unearthed information pulled from AltaVista and Excite. Google didn't exist. In the earliest days of the web, information was occasionally leveraged by families as a type of newfound control.

Defining Patient Engagement

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | February 18, 2011 | Donna Cryer

The mad scramble to figure out how to 'engage' patients in their healthcare has begun! Everyone from PR firms to hospital board members are trying to figure out how to engage patients in their health care. My question to hospitals and others is this: Why would you reject the help of thousands of individuals positioned in various ways to help you be more successful?

1st Person: Reference Range- A Video Poem On What 'Normal' Means

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | February 17, 2011 | First Person

A nurse in practice for thirty-five years, Veneta Masson's evocative video poem, Reference Range, speaks from both her personal and professional experiences with health care. Dealing with test results and diagnostic technology, Veneta wonders, "Is it normal, you ask. Normal's a shell game you seldom win."

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.

Prepared Patient: Side Effects: When Silence Isn't Golden

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | February 3, 2011 | Health Behavior News Service

'I had a wonderful gentleman patient who had resistant blood pressure,' recalls Vicki Koenig, M.D., a retired family doctor in Exmore, VA. 'When he came for a blood pressure check on the latest new med and it was great, I was ecstatic. Then he said, 'But I notice my urine's a little dark.' His was one of the first cases of fatal liver complications from this medication.' Medication side effects are common'but when should you speak up?

One Small Step for Patient-Centered Care, One Less Barrier to Engagement

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | February 1, 2011 | Jessie Gruman

As far as my chemo nurse Olga* is concerned, I can do nothing right. She scolded me for sending an e-mail when she thought I should have called and vice versa. She scolded me for going home before my next appointment was scheduled. She scolded me for asking to speak to her personally instead of whichever nurse was available. She scolded me for calling my oncologist directly. She scolded me for asking whether my clinical information and questions are shared between my oncologist and the staff of the chemo suite. I could go on'

Side Effects: When Silence Isn't Golden

PREPARED PATIENT ARTICLE

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.

1st Person: Talking about Health Care

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | January 31, 2011 | First Person

Through poetry, art and music, people describe and reflect on their experiences with health care. In this Def Poetry Jam video, Thea Monyee and GaKnew Rowel tell about the birth of their daughter.

Goodbye Acute Care, Hello, Rehab

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | January 21, 2011 | Health Behavior News Service

Given the interest in Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords' transfer to a Houston rehabilitation facility, here is our Prepared Patient feature article: 'Goodbye, Acute Care, Hello, Rehab' . Understanding some of the myths and realities of rehab care can help patients and caregivers during this critical transition and recovery time.

Powerful Patients Revisited

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | December 7, 2010 | Andrew Schorr

There's some confusion out there in the media that Patient Power is only about patients holding hands and providing emotional support to one another. It's the warm and fuzzy side of medicine, like sitting at someone's bedside. That support is terrific. But these days the leadership role of a well-intentioned and well-informed patient doesn't stop there.

Patient-Experts at Medical Conventions

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | November 30, 2010 | Andrew Schorr

Increasingly, you are finding real patients who have the conditions discussed at conventions, in scientific sessions, and around exhibit halls. Patients like me want to be where that news breaks; we want to ask questions and thanks to the Internet we have a direct line to thousands of other patients waiting to know what new developments mean for them. PR types and social networking media analysts take note: we are a new force to contend with.

Consumers v Patients

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | November 9, 2010 | Donna Cryer

Much is made of what to call those of us actively engaged in pursuing and receiving medical care from health professionals, and this post does not intend to settle that issue. But I've discerned a shift towards using "consumers" as the catch-all term to describe people who actually have different experiences, needs, views, and behaviors within the health care system. Although often used interchangeably, I believe there are distinctive differences between consumers, patients, and patient warriors in the context of health care.

Friends, Fatigue and the Slow Slog Back

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | November 5, 2010 | Jessie Gruman

I have much experience with serious illness. And so I am a connoisseur of fatigue: the sleepless edginess of post-radiation fatigue; the heavy constancy of cardiac fatigue; the blur and blues of chemotherapy-related fatigue.

Hospital Discharge Without a Net

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | November 3, 2010 | Jessie Gruman

By the time I reached the sixth day of my hospitalization for stomach cancer surgery, I was antsy to go home and I quizzed each nurse and physician who came into my room about what must happen for me to be liberated the following day. Their responses were consistent: my surgeon would visit in the morning and write orders for my release. Then I would have a comprehensive discussion with my nurse about my discharge plan, after which I could leave.

Patient Engagement on the Med-Surg Floor

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | November 2, 2010 | Jessie Gruman

Three times a day, as though responding to some signal audible only to the generously medicated, we rise from our beds to join the slow procession around the perimeter of the unit. Like slumped, disheveled royalty, each of us blearily leads our retinue of anxious loved ones who push our IV poles, bear sweaters to ward off the harsh air conditioning and hover to prevent stumbles. Some make eye contact. Few talk. Each of us is absorbed in our suffering and our longing to return to our bed.

Another Devastating Diagnosis to Face

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | September 27, 2010 | Jessie Gruman

I have stomach cancer and will undergo surgery to remove part or all of my stomach today.

The People and Evidence-Based Medicine: We are All Above Average

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | September 1, 2010 | Jessie Gruman

Problems with evidence-based guidelines and comparative effectiveness research all have at their core the conflict between averages and individuals.

Antibiotic Resistance, Evidence-Based Medicine and the End of the World as We Know It

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | August 24, 2010 | Jessie Gruman

Delivering evidence-based medicine is a deceptively elegant and simple goal.' But new findings about the increase in antibiotic resistance challenge us to consider just how complicated and challenging it is to actually define and deliver evidence-based care.'

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.

Making Sure Minnie Doesn't Bounceback

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | August 10, 2010 | James Cooper, MD

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.

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.

Participate in My Care? Room for Improvement

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | May 20, 2010 | Jessie Gruman

The Center for Advancing Health, just released A Snapshot of People's Engagement in Their Health Care, a study that found that most of us do relatively little to participate in our health care.

The Water Is Wide: Teens with Chronic Conditions Take on Their Own Care

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | April 8, 2010 | Jessie Gruman

I was recently trading stories about the treatment of our childhood cancers with a young friend who mentioned that until recently (he's 26), he continued to be followed by his pediatrician why switch? His doctor knew him, after all.

On Your Own With Multiple Meds

PREPARED PATIENT ARTICLE

People with chronic illness often struggle to manage several prescribed drugs at a time and trying to figure out which drug is which, or when to take what.