Be a Prepared Patient can help you make informed decisions about your health and health care. We've gathered a collection of trusted resources, tips and stories from patients, caregivers, and health care experts about finding good care and making the most of it. Be a Prepared Patient accepts no corporate sponsorship, earns no revenue from any links and is completely free of advertising.

New App for iPhone

Our new, free app AfterShock: Facing a Serious Diagnosis provides a basic roadmap for the first days and weeks after getting a serious diagnosis. The app offers concise information and links to trusted resources to help you regain a bit of control during this turbulent time.

How to Choose a Hospital

Sometimes, choosing a hospital is a matter of picking the one closest to you, the one where your doctor works. But if you have options, there are resources to help select the best one for you.


Working with Your Doctor's Office

Going to the doctor requires you to be prepared with some key information ahead of your visit. There's also important information to gather while you are at your doctor's office or health clinic. These tips can help you make the most of your health care.


'I No Longer Have to Go to See the Doctor': How the Patient Portal is Changing Medical Practice

Not long ago, the only options my patients had for communicating with me were to come in to the office or relay a message through the office staff. But since recently introducing the patient portal in our electronic medical record, my practice has changed substantially for the better...

Advance Directives: Caring for You & Your Family

Starting conversations about end-of-life care with family members can be uncomfortable, but are worth having. Putting your wishes about end-of-life care in writing—with documents known as advance directives—can make a big difference in serious health situations.


Normal Care Hours Don't Work for Workers With Chronic Conditions

It looks like an airport lounge without the rolling suitcases. There are about 20 of us fiddling with our phones or reading the newspaper, waiting to meet with our doctor for follow-up or monitoring visits. All of us are between the ages of 20 and 70 and all of us are dressed for success – or at least for our jobs. What's wrong with this picture? Why are employed adults spending a busy Wednesday morning waiting (and waiting) for our health care appointment when we should be working?

Finding Health Information You Can Trust

Want to learn how to separate quality health information from inaccurate or even dangerous websites? Here’s some advice.

Handling an Insurance Dispute

What to do if your health insurance denies you coverage for a procedure.

Improving Your Health Behaviors

Want to change something about your health behavior? Here's some advice.

Your Doctor's Office, Demystified

Long gone are the days when all nurses sported identical uniforms and only physicians wore white coats and scrubs. Today, when visiting your doctor's office, it can be difficult to know with whom you're speaking and what role they play in your health care.


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Find Good Health Care

The quality of doctors and hospitals varies. Here is information to help you find the right care. More

Pay for Your Healthcare

Learn more about health insurance terms, selecting a plan, and Medicare and Medicaid. Plus, resources for help with paying for prescriptions. More

Talking with Your Doctors

Advice on how to explain your symptoms, talk to doctors and ask the right questions about tests and prescriptions. More

Organize Your Health Care

Tips for doctors' appointments, managing health records and dealing with illness and work. More

Make Good Treatment Decisions

Treatment may involve making important decisions. Here's advice on understanding your options, including watchful waiting and getting a second opinion. More

Participate in Your Treatment

How to manage medical treatments at home, including medications and dealing with side effects. More

Seek Knowledge About Your Health

Advice on understanding your risk for disease(s) and finding online health information you can trust. More

Get Preventative Health Care

Advice about physical check-ups, disease screening, dental exams, vaccinations and immunizations. More

Promote Your Health

Information on healthy lifestyles, improving health habits and help with common concerns, such as weight loss and exercise, pain and depression. More

Plan for Your End of Life Care

Information on caregiving, long-term and nursing care, palliative and hospice care and advance directives. More