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Say What? Do Patients Really Hear What Doctors Tell Them?
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | March 3, 2011 | Carolyn Thomas
I had a heart attack two years ago and was taken immediately to the O.R. for a stent implantation. Overwhelmed and terrified, I knew nothing of what was about to happen to me. What I learned later was that my stent may help a newly-opened artery to stay open. But a new study now suggests heart patients believe that stents have far greater benefits than they actually do. Should it be up to patients to ensure that doctor-patient communication is accurate or effective during an emotionally overwhelming medical event?

Mayo Finds Heart Patients Skip Meds Due to Costs; Self-rationing in Health Continues
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | April 25, 2011 | Jane Sarasohn Kahn
Health economist and management consultant, Jane Sarasohn-Kahn, discusses a Mayo study which found half of people in the study stopped taking their statins due to cost. Sarasohn-Kahn says, 'Welcome to world of self-rationing in health, where even the lucky health citizen receiving the best acute care money (and third-party health insurance) can buy doesn't follow through with the recommended self care at home.'

Guest Blog: Is It Post-Heart Attack Depression or Just Feeling Sad?
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | August 4, 2011 | Carolyn Thomas
One of the small joys of having launched my site [] is discovering by happy accident the wisdom of other writers ' even when they're writing on unrelated topics not remotely connected to my favourite subject which is, of course, women and heart disease. For example, I happened upon a link to Sandra Pawula's lovely blog called Always Well Within. Sandra teaches mindfulness meditation, and she lives in Hawai'i (note her correct spelling).

NBC Urges Women >40 to Ask About CRP Test
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | August 19, 2011 | Gary Schwitzer
After seeing the NBC Nightly News last night, a physician urged me to write about what he saw: a story about a "simple blood test that could save women's lives." Readers - and maybe especially TV viewers - beware whenever you hear a story about "a simple blood test."

Matters of the Heart
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | August 22, 2011 | Katherine Ellington
When her mom is being treated for a newly diagnosed heart condition, medical student Katherine Ellington learns first-hand how her medical training applies to real life. This is the second in a series of three posts.

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.

Advice Urges Wider Sharing of Heart Care Decisions
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | May 16, 2012 | Jessie Gruman
The goal is "not only living long, it's living well. People often make decisions about the 'long' without even considering the 'well,'" said Jessie Gruman, president of the Center for Advancing Health, a patient advocacy group.

Why You'll Listen to Me but Not to Your Doctor
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | May 25, 2012 | Carolyn Thomas
As I like to remind my women's heart health presentation audiences, I am not a physician. I'm not a nurse. I am merely a dull-witted heart attack survivor. I also warn them that a lot of what I'm about to say to them is already available out there, likely printed on some wrinkled-up Heart and Stroke Foundation brochure stuffed into the magazine rack at their doctor's office.

Prepared Patient: Chronic Conditions: When Do You Call the Doctor?
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | December 24, 2012 | Health Behavior News Service
The signs are everywhere - prescriptions doled out into weekly reminder boxes, blood glucose monitors in a desk drawer, maybe even an adrenaline injection pen stashed in a diaper bag for allergy emergencies. From high cholesterol to HIV, millions of Americans have a medical condition that they manage mostly on their own.

Patient Engagement? How About Doctor Engagement?
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | May 28, 2013 | Carolyn Thomas
It’s a stressful time to be a patient these days, what with expectations running high that we should be both empowered and engaged while self-tracking every trackable health indicator possible – and of course retaining an all-important positive mental attitude – in order to change health care forever.

Looking for Meaning in a Meaningless Diagnosis
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | June 24, 2013 | Carolyn Thomas
It is indeed tempting – and common – to spout trite platitudes designed to somehow make people feel better about those bad things with bumper-sticker pop-psych. But can platitudes really lend meaning to a life-altering health crisis?

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.

Patient Centered Billing
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | August 19, 2013 | Beth Nash
My husband and I returned from a weekend away to find a message on our answering machine saying that we owed money to the hospital and that if we didn’t pay it within 10 days, they would send the bill to a collection agency.

Latest Health Behavior News
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | September 20, 2013 | Health Behavior News Service
In this weeks health news: Group exercise alleviates college stress | Maintain your weight in a matter of minutes | Education may be the key to fighting obesity | Men who binge at risk for cardiovascular disease.

Is Everything We Know About Nutrition Wrong?
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | October 31, 2013 | Inside Health Care
Millions of dollars are spent on dietary research, but are we any closer to understanding what a truly healthy diet consists of? A few new studies are turning long-held recommendations on their heads.

More Chronically Ill People Use Online Health Resources – but They're Not So Social, Pew Finds
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | January 13, 2014 | Jane Sarasohn Kahn
Getting and being sick changes everything in your life, and that includes how you manage your health. For people focused on so-called patient engagement, health empowerment, and social networking in health, the elephant in the room is that most people simply don't self-track health via digital means...

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...

Is Your Doctor Paying Attention?
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | February 13, 2014 | Carolyn Thomas
The $800 bottle of meds in my bathroom cabinet is a powerfully expensive reminder of my (former) family physician's lapse in attention – and my own lapse in catching her error. She'd somehow accidentally doubled both the dosage and the number of times per day to take these meds. How is this even possible? Somebody is not paying attention...

Confessions of a Non-Compliant Patient
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | February 24, 2014 | Carolyn Thomas
Most days, I have learned to function pretty well. But take a few unexpected health challenges, no matter how minor they may seem to others, arriving at the same time and piled onto an already-full plate and you have an explosion of overwhelm that looms larger than the average healthy person could even imagine. I've become a non-compliant patient...

'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...

Caring for the Whole Patient
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | May 27, 2014 | Carolyn Thomas
When I was discharged from the intensive care unit in cardiology, not one of the nurses, residents or cardiologists asked if I'd be able to afford the fistful of expensive new cardiac meds I'd been prescribed. Not one asked if there was anybody at home to help take care of me there, or if there was anybody at home who needed me to take care of them. Not one asked if I'd be returning to a high-stress job, or even if I had enough banked sick time or vacation days to take sufficient time off. Such real-life issues are simply not the concern of most of our health care providers...

When Does a Patient Need to Be Seen?
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | July 28, 2014 | Anne Polta
You need a refill for a prescription that's about to run out. You've taken the medication for years without any problems and can't think of any reason why the prescription can't just be automatically continued. But the doctor won't order a refill unless you make an appointment and come in to be seen. Is this an unfair burden on the patient or due diligence by the doctor?...

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...

From Wonder Drug to Medical Reversal
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | August 19, 2014 | John Schumann
One thing seems to be sure in medicine: if we just wait long enough for excellent science to guide us ahead, things we trust as ironclad rules often change. Case in point...

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...

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"...