PREPARED PATIENT BLOG

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

Elaine Schattner, M.D., is a trained oncol­ogist, hema­tol­ogist, edu­cator and jour­nalist who writes about med­icine. Her views on health care are informed by her expe­ri­ences as a patient with sco­l­iosis since childhood and other con­di­tions including breast cancer. She is a Clinical Asso­ciate Pro­fessor of Med­icine at Weill Cornell Medical College, where she teaches part-time. She holds an active New York State medical license and is board-certified in the Internal Med­icine sub­spe­cialties of Hema­tology (blood dis­eases) and Oncology (cancer medicine). She writes regularly on her blog, Medical Lessons. You can follower her on Twitter @ElaineSchattner.


Rethinking Survivorship in the Context of Illness

Elaine Schattner | September 19, 2013
When I was practicing oncology, I never thought much about the concept of survivorship. I was busy running a research lab and rounding on my hospital's inpatient oncology unit. Until I was diagnosed with cancer myself, I didn't really appreciate how blurry the line is between being a survivor and having the disease...

Getting My Photo Taken at a Medical Appointment

Elaine Schattner | April 15, 2013
A funny thing hap­pened at my doctor’s appointment on Friday. I checked in, then a med-tech asked if she could take my picture, “for the hos­pital record.” I couldn’t contain my won­dering self. “What is the purpose of the picture?” I asked.

What Do We Need Doctors For?

Elaine Schattner | March 21, 2013
Should nurse prac­ti­tioners, RNs, physician assis­tants, phar­ma­cists, social workers and others including, yes, peer patients, take up much — or even most, of doctors’ tasks?

Shying Away From Talking About Risks

Elaine Schattner | June 26, 2012
Recently, I wrote a piece in The Atlantic about how doctors and patients talk about the risks of chemotherapy (or not), including the risks of causing another form of cancer. If you get chemotherapy, you have the right to know about these risks, and to ask your doctor about them.

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

Elaine Schattner | April 25, 2012
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.

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

Elaine Schattner | March 22, 2012
Recently the Annals of Internal Medicine published a new report on how doctors (don't) understand cancer screening stats. This unusual paper reveals that some primary care physicians a majority of those who completed a survey don't really get the numbers on cancer incidence, 5-year survival and mortality.

Guest Blog: On Alcohol and Breast Cancer, Guilt, Correlations, Fun, Moderation, Doctors' Habits, Advice and Herbal Tea

Elaine Schattner | November 11, 2011
Few breast cancer news items irk some women I know more than those linking alcohol consumption to the disease.

Guest Blog: NIH to Drop Requirement for Websites Disclosing Researchers' Ties to Industry

Elaine Schattner | August 5, 2011
Word comes from Nature News that the NIH is dropping a proposed requirement for universities to disclose researchers' financial ties to industry on websites. This is a loss for patients, who may not be aware of their doctors' relationships with pharmaceutical companies and others who fund clinical trials, fellowships, conference junkets and other perks for physicians.

Don Berwick and Patient Centered Care

Elaine Schattner | June 23, 2011
Berwick now heads the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. When he spoke in April, on transparency and how we might simultaneously cut costs and improve care, I thought his talk was pretty good. This morning, through Twitter, I came upon a short clip from a Berlin conference in 2009. Here, he tackles the meaning of patient-centered care. It's near-perfect.