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Latest Posts

Ever Google Your Doctor’s Name?

Andrew takes you behind the scenes of what health information people are searching for online, and how we know:

Popular Health Search: Your Doctor’s Name from Patient Power® on Vimeo.

*This blog post was originally published at Andrew's Blog*

The Medical Profession: Is It Devolving?

I had lunch with a group of physicians recently, and along for the ride was a college student thinking of applying to medical school. When talking about the future, I suggested that the work of a physician 30 years from now will be hardly recognizable to today’s physician. Everybody disagreed and the student was confused. There was a lot of denial and myopic rationalization.

But I can’t blame them, really. Most of us see what’s immediately changing in our day-to-day work and the bigger picture gets lost. For most of us, the role of the physician is hard to see for anything other than it always has been. Most live and work as the self-determined independent care coordinator, reactively working to treat disease just as its been done for over a century. But change is happening around us. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at 33 Charts*

When Individuals Are In Control Of Their Health Care

I’m speaking [today] at the 23rd Annual Benefits Forum and Expo. This is one of the premier events in the health care benefits industry, and it’s a thrill for me to be the opening speaker on the “Health Care” track.

I’m presenting along with Charlie Salter, the VP of Benefits of ConAgra, one of our customers at Best Doctors. The talk Charlie and I will give is called “Real Results: When Individuals are in Control of their Health Care.”

As regular readers know, good things happen when people are in control of their care. They have a chance to make sure they’re not one of the 20 percent of people that end up with an incorrect diagnosis, or the more than 60 percent of people that end up with the wrong treatment. It’s the single most powerful thing you can do to make sure your health care experience is as good as it can possibly be. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at See First Blog*

Patients, Doctors And Informed Medical Decision Making

You can’t be well-empowered if you hear advice wrong. That’s why in a participatory relationship, an essential skill is accurate handoff of information.

The Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making (FIMDM), catchily pronounced “fimdim,” has been working for years to improve patients’ knowledge of options and alternatives. In [the September 20th] Boston Globe Liz Cooney talks with people from FIMDM about the issue. An excerpt:

What doctors explain and what patients understand might be two very different things, recent research suggests.

Ideally, patients talk with their doctors about the pros and cons of a particular treatment, weighing the risks and benefits, exploring alternatives — including doing nothing — and then come to a conclusion. That’s the goal of the informed consent process, best known by the paperwork patients sign at the end saying they heard doctors describe what they may be getting into.

If only it were that simple.

[This] article springboards off Cooney’s piece two weeks ago on heart stents, reported here by Dr. John Grohol as Doctors Say One Thing, Patients Hear Another.

A Boston non-profit, FIMDM is the force behind Gary Schwitzer’s excellent Health News Review service, which analyzes health news in the media, teaching e-patients and policy people to sift the gold from the garbage.

*This blog post was originally published at e-Patients.net*

Health “Care” Not Health “Performance”

The “empowered patient” movement (which I think is a good thing) strives to take the doctor out of the center of care and put the patient at its focus. The role of doctor is not to be the star of the show, the quarterback, the superhero, but the advocate and helper for the patient to accomplish their goal: Health.

Many rightly attack doctor prima donnas who want the exam/operating room to be about them instead of the patient. This is health care, not health performance. They want doctors who care more about the people they treat than they do about money, praise, or status.

I get it. I get the message that doctors have to adjust to this new age of patient empowerment and patient-centeredness. I get the fact that making patients wait is a bad thing, and that communication is as essential of a skill as is medical knowledge — remove either one of them and you don’t have care. I hear the message: Doctors should care about patients more than they care about themselves. That is what we are paid to do, and that is what we have neglected at our own peril. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Musings of a Distractible Mind*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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