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

Janice Lynch Schuster is a senior writer for Altarum Institute, a nonprofit health systems research and consulting firm where she works on the new Center for Elder Care and Advanced Illness, an organization dedicated to “making it safe to grow old” through a combination of research, advocacy, and demonstration. She blogs weekly for the Center’s website,, covering issues including end-of-life care, caregiving, aging, maternal and child health, behavioral health, and more. This piece was originally published in the Altarum Health Policy Forum. Follow Altarum on Twitter @Altarum.

Helping Patients Do the Work: Minimally Disruptive Medicine Tries to Right-Size Health Care

Janice Lynch Schuster | January 10, 2013
My husband is an insulin-dependent diabetic who has accumulated an array of chronic health conditions. I confess to days in which I play the role of diabetes cop'?¦I hate it when I do this, and yet it seems to be a role I have fallen into. But I had never thought of living with a chronic condition as a form of work until I interviewed Dr. Victor Montori.

What Does It Matter to You: Patient Activation and Good Health Outcomes

Janice Lynch Schuster | July 20, 2012
In our current health care environment, in which patients are sometimes discharged quicker and sicker, they are expected to be more in charge activated than ever. They need to make and keep follow-up doctor appointments, manage complex medication regimens, organize home health care and visiting nurse appointments, store powerful medications, and track, monitor, and report changes in their health status. It's a tough order, especially for people like my father, who do not know or understand the health care system, and find its workings difficult to navigate.

A Visa for the Dying: Travels to Another Country

Janice Lynch Schuster | November 21, 2011
People who are dying have much living to do, whether it is measured out in days, weeks or months, and the demarcation lines between the living and the dying might as well be drawn in pencil. But the truth is that it's important to talk about dying and what it means to each of us.