PREPARED PATIENT BLOG

Patients and experts explore what it takes to find good health care and make the most of it.

Conversation Continues feature ongoing discussions or news on current health topics with links to related materials.  They are part of the Center for Advancing Health’s portfolio of free, evidence-based coverage of what it takes to find good care and make the most of it.


The Hard-Hitting Truth About Sports Concussions

Conversation Continues | November 11, 2013
Final scores, rankings and rivalries aren't the only fall football traditions getting news coverage this season. Rates, effects and what to do about concussions are in the spotlight too.

Quelling the Tide of Over-Testing

Conversation Continues | October 24, 2013
Lately it seems that more health care insiders are advocating for a "less is more" approach for some screening tests. Cancer, dementia and kidney disease are a few examples. But will we just say "no"?

Cancer Survivorship: "I Call Me Lucky"

Conversation Continues | October 10, 2013
"I have been treated for five different cancer diagnoses. Some would call me a survivor. I call me lucky," CFAH President Jessie Gruman observes in her lead post in the series, What I Wish I'd Known Earlier About Cancer Survivorship.

Patients Appreciate Good Front Office Staff

Conversation Continues | September 9, 2013
Health centers' front office staff are important members of the care team. They greet us when we arrive, make extra efforts to schedule appointments that fit our schedule, direct us to the right person when we call, and work to squeeze us in for those same day appointments. At least we hope they do...

The Cost of Missing Health Care Prices

Conversation Continues | August 12, 2013
People continue to struggle finding information on how much health care services cost. Toni Brayer, Barbara Bronson Gray and Ray Burow weigh in.

Googling for Doctors and Health Information

Conversation Continues | August 6, 2013
Many people rely on the internet to look up health information or find a new doctor. However, navigating through the vast amount of resources and information online can be exhausting. Doctors Kevin Pho and Kenny Lin share some tips.

What to Say to Someone Who Is Ill

Conversation Continues | July 30, 2013
It can be hard to find the right words to say to someone who has received a devastating diagnosis. Here are some suggestions from people who have been through it.

Medical Errors: Can Patients and Caregivers Spur Improvement?

Conversation Continues | February 5, 2013
A new report from Minnesota on medical errors shines a light on the fact that their frequency remains stubbornly high. Can patients and caregivers make a difference?

Palliative Care: Easier Said than Done

Conversation Continues | February 1, 2013
If we want our end-of-life wishes to be properly carried out, we have to prepare in advance and our clinicians must also be prepared to help us realize them.

Understanding Risk: It's All Relative

Conversation Continues | September 28, 2012
Risk reduction, relative change, probability, and absolute versus relative risk'?¦how are these terms different from each other and how do they influence people's health care decisions?

Hey Doc, Choose Your Words Carefully

Conversation Continues | August 9, 2012
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.

My Doctor Gets 3 Stars? 2 Thumbs Up? B+?

Conversation Continues | July 27, 2012
Hospital and physician ratings and patient satisfaction scores are all inter-related. Do they provide useful, meaningful information-and will we use them?

Using Press Releases for Preliminary Pilot Data

Conversation Continues | July 24, 2012
Steven Novella of the Science Based Medicine blog asks, 'If this is a pilot study only and we should not base any firm conclusions on the results, then why the press release?

Research that Incorporates the Patient's Perspective

Conversation Continues | July 17, 2012
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.

In the Dark on Costs of Care

Conversation Continues | July 2, 2012
'If gas stations worked like health care, you wouldn't find out until the pump switched off whether you paid $3 or $30 a gallon." ' Consumer Reports

How to Find a (Good) Doctor

Conversation Continues | June 22, 2012
While the benefits of having (and keeping) a good physician may be evident, how do you find this just-right-for-you clinician?

Worried about the Cost and Quality of Health Care

Conversation Continues | May 29, 2012
9 out of 10 sick people, (those with a serious illness, medical condition, injury or disability), are worried about the costs of medical care according to a new poll from RWJF/Harvard, 'What It's Like to be Sick in America'.

Reading, Writing, Weight Control?

Conversation Continues | May 15, 2012
"If you believe this is a massive national problem, you have to deal with it in a systems way," says, Dan Glickman, chair of an Institute of Medicine panel/report, "Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention".

Employee Wellness Programs: The Carrot or the Stick?

Conversation Continues | April 23, 2012
Employee wellness programs can't work if employees don't participate. So, what's the motivation? Incentives or mandatory participation?

More on'Patient Navigators and Talking to Your Pharmacist

Conversation Continues | April 20, 2012
Two recent online posts build on topics we've explored on the Prepared Patient Forum previously. One on finding and using patient navigators/advocates, the other on making the most of your health care by working with your pharmacist.

Getting Kids to Be Active

Conversation Continues | March 26, 2012
Getting kids to eat well and exercise can be a tough sell. Are so-called "fat-shaming" books and exhibits the answer?

What if Your Hotel Bill Was Like a Hospital Bill?

Conversation Continues | March 6, 2012
Health care costs are notoriously opaque, often leaving patients saddled with unexpectedly high bills and making it challenging for them to understand their expenses. To make matters more complicated, doctors, nurses and other caregivers are seldom in a position to understand how their decisions impact what patients pay for care.

Diabetes: 'Valuable Truths about Food and Consequences'

Conversation Continues | February 13, 2012
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.

The Persistence of Medical Error

Conversation Continues | January 17, 2012
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?

Beyond Moodiness: Dangers of Adolescent Depression

Conversation Continues | December 20, 2011
Several recent studies reveal that the causes of depression in children are many, and its outward manifestation in teens often goes beyond recognizable symptoms of sadness and lethargy.

A Patient-Doctor Relationship Make-Over

Conversation Continues | December 13, 2011
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.

An Under-Recognized Danger for the Elderly: Delirium

Conversation Continues | November 22, 2011
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.

The Costs of Long-Term Care

Conversation Continues | November 14, 2011
Does long-term care insurance have a future? In this roundup, Nancy Folbre, Don Taylor, and Trudy Lieberman offer their forecasts and perspectives on its costs.

Benefits of End-of-Life Planning

Conversation Continues | October 7, 2011
Two new studies have found there are numerous benefits when people discuss their end-of-life preferences with their clinicians and caregivers.

The Whole Package: Improving Medication Adherence

Conversation Continues | September 23, 2011
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?

Health News: Proceed With Caution

Conversation Continues | September 15, 2011
Recent posts at Health News Review highlight how the over-simplification of medical journalism leads to misinformed, over-treated patients.

Informed Consent & Doctor-Patient Communications in the News

Conversation Continues | August 30, 2011
The recent case of Phillip Seaton, a Kentucky man who sued his surgeon after having a partial penile amputation, raises concerns about the effectiveness of the informed consent process, general health literacy and problems with doctor-patient communications.

The Complexities of Non-Compliance

Conversation Continues | August 18, 2011
In recent discussions about patient non-compliance, Stephen Wilkins, Dr. Stewart Segal and patient Ann Silberman all emphasize that doctor-patient communication is key.

Taking a Closer Look at Chronic Pain

Conversation Continues | August 11, 2011
This June, an Institute of Medicine report estimated that chronic pain affects 116 million Americans. Here, Tara Parker-Pope, Maia Szalavitz, and Elizabeth Cohen offer their perspectives on the findings. Kelly Young, RAWarrior, adds her personal experience, too.

Making Informed Health Care Choices

Conversation Continues | August 4, 2011
Recent pieces at HealthNewsReview Blog and in the Washington Post highlight the need for accessible and reliable information about health care services.

Too Much Information in Medical Decision Making?

Conversation Continues | July 22, 2011
Paula Span of The New York Times New Old Age blog could have used more information about medical risks when helping her father decide whether to remove a benign mole. Span wanted to know what the odds were of a benign mole turning malignant.

'Is a Cheaper, Effective Option Available?' An Important Question to Ask

Conversation Continues | July 18, 2011
The Costs of Care blog, "Hidden Costs of Medication", reinforces the importance of asking, 'How expensive is this treatment?" and "Is a less expensive option available?'

Where to Seek Help for Questions about Your Health and Health Care

Conversation Continues | July 13, 2011
Lisa Zamosky from the LA Times' Health 411 column offers tips on finding a doctor who accepts Medicare while Trudy Lieberman examines the process for signing up.

Understanding Your Medical Risk: Nice or Necessary?

Conversation Continues | July 12, 2011
Sam Wainwright from New America's Health Policy Program offers his opinion on the controversy surrounding whether or not doctors should present or withhold data about patients' medical risks.

Can New Tools Improve Medication Adherence?

Conversation Continues | July 6, 2011
Medication non-compliance is a pervasive problem resulting from a complex set of factors. Now, using publicly identifiable information, the credit-rating company FICO has developed a Medication Adherence Score that may help health plans identify those most at risk, and Geisinger Health Systems and CVS Caremark are conducting a study to assess whether enhanced doctor-pharmacist communication can help.

More on ERs

Conversation Continues | January 14, 2011
CNN's Empowered Patient also focused on emergency rooms in their January 13th article Don't Die Waiting in the ER .More articles and features in Elizabeth Cohen's Empowered Patient series can be found here.

More Questions About Medical Tests

Conversation Continues | January 12, 2011

Vaccine Safety

Conversation Continues | January 6, 2011
Two new books, examine the pseudoscience that created a controversy over vaccine safety, Dr. David Gorski, offers a review on science-based medicine, Andrew Wakefield's study linking autism to MMR vaccines continues to be dismantled and BMJ's Brian Deer compares diagnoses in Wakefield's study to hospital records.