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

Guest Blogger Stephen Wilkins, MPH, is a former hospital executive, consumer health behavior research and recent care giver. He has witnessed incredible oversights and gaps in physician-patient communications that have had “near catastrophic” consequences for patients like his wife who was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung Cancer in 2004. He is the co-founder of Health Messaging Inc., which focuses on developing ideas and solutions for improving the quality of communications between physicians and patients. He blogs on Mind The Gap, where this post originally appeared, and you can follow him on twitter at @Healthmessaging.

It's Time to Stop Blaming the Patient and Fix the Real Problem: Poor Physician-Patient Communication

Stephen Wilkins | January 14, 2014
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...

Patient Non-Adherence (Like Engagement) Is a Physician-Patient Communication Challenge – Not a Health Information Technology Challenge

Stephen Wilkins | July 23, 2013
Have you noticed all the articles in the health care press lately touting health information technologies’ ability to increase patient medication adherence? Smart phone-based apps, Smart pill bottles and Patient Portals are all about trying to get patients to do something (take a medication) which some physician somewhere has deemed to be the right thing for the patient to do. Some would call this process of generating adherence patient engagement.

3 First Principles for Evaluating Patient-Facing HIT Solutions

Stephen Wilkins | May 30, 2013
In order to realize the full promise of patient-facing tools like EMRs, PHRs, patient portals and the like, we need to be more mindful of the following “first principles.”

The Truth about Those High Patient Satisfaction Scores for Doctor-Patient Communication

Stephen Wilkins | April 11, 2013
The problem with satisfaction data related to doctor-patient communication is that, at face value, it simply doesn’t correlate with other published data on the subject. There is a disconnect between what patients say in satisfaction surveys and what happens in actual practice. Here’s what I mean…

Patient Activation Is Only Half the Solution – Physicians Need to Be Activated as Well

Stephen Wilkins | April 1, 2013
Focusing just on what the patient brings to the party in terms of their “knowledge, skills and confidence” is only half the problem. What about physician activation?

More Money, More Time: Will that Improve Physician-Patient Communications?

Stephen Wilkins | November 8, 2012
I don’t think so, and here’s why. I have yet to meet a physician who did not agree with the importance of effective physician-patient communication…in principle.

Patient Engagement: No App Can Take the Place of Good Old Conversation

Stephen Wilkins | October 15, 2012
Physicians, hospitals and other providers are being misled by industry pundits claiming that more health information technology (as in EMRs, PHRs, Smart Phone apps, and web portals) is the key to greater patient engagement. It'??s not.

Guest Blog: Will Information Technology Squeeze Physicians Out Of Their Central Role In Health Care?

Stephen Wilkins | July 19, 2012
Turns out that while most of us (90%) would like be able to make a doctor's appointment and check lab results online'.85% of us also still want the option to talk to our physician face-to-face. These are the findings from a recent 2012 study conducted by Accenture.

What's Expected of You at Your Doctor's Office?

Stephen Wilkins | June 14, 2011
When you or I visit an accountant, a lawyer or car mechanic, we know what our role is and have a pretty clear understanding of what the ' expert' is supposed to do. But when it comes to a trip to the doctor these days the roles and responsibilities of patients and physicians have become blurred and unpredictable'and the patient seems to generally be on the losing end.

Guest Blog: One More Reason Patients Ask Doctors So Few Questions

Stephen Wilkins | March 31, 2011
The most popular post on my blog is entitled Five Reasons Why People Do Not Ask Their Doctor Questions. Well it seems there is a sixth reason. The Reason? Patients were never supposed to ask doctors questions.