Better Health: Smart Health Commentary Better Health (TM): smart health commentary

Latest Posts

Healthcare Transparency: Patient Experts At Medical Conventions

Interviewing Dr. Emile Mohler from the University of Pennsylvania at AHA Scientific Session 2010We are invading their home turf. Increasingly, in among the thousands of doctors, scientists, and medical industry marketers at the largest medical conventions you are finding real patients who have the conditions discussed in the scientific sessions and exhibit halls. Patients like me want to be where the news breaks. We want to ask questions and — thanks to the Internet — we have a direct line to thousands of other patients waiting to know what new developments mean for them.

I vividly remember attending an FDA drug hearing a few years ago and how there were stock analysts sitting in the audience, BlackBerries poised for the “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” on whether a proposed new drug would be recommended for approval. (At that session it was thumbs down.) When the analysts got their thumbs moving, a biotech stock tanked in minutes and before long the company was announcing layoffs. Those analysts were powerful reporters.

Now patients are reporters, too, and their thumbs are just as powerful. So are their video cameras and microphones. These folks are a different breed than the folks from CNN or the scientist/journalists from MedPageToday. Their questions are all-encompassing: “What do the discussions about my disease or condition here mean for me? What should change in my treatment plan? What gives me hope? What’s important for my family to know?” Read more »

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

Health News: How Big Medical Conferences Try To Control It

In recent days, news readers/viewers/listeners have been bombarded with news from the big American Society of Clinical Oncology conference in Chicago. But how does some of this stuff become news? Read an excellent post by an excellent reporter, Ron Winslow of the Wall Street Journal, to see some of the crazy, ugly sausage-making that goes on in the manipulation of the media. In the example Winslow raises, what may be packaged as news really isn’t ”new” — which is often the case.

*This blog post was originally published at Gary Schwitzer's HealthNewsReview Blog*

Medical Conventions: More Focus On Patients Needed

Andrew Schorr, host and founder of Patient Power, discusses the hope of changing the focus from products to patients at medical conventions.

Shifting the Focus to Patients at Medical Conventions from Patient Power® on Vimeo.

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

“Patient Journalists”: Health News From The Patient’s Perspective

My wife and family are alternately happy and unhappy about the prospect of me headed out of town to attend two medical conventions in a row. When they need me they REALLY need me, and when they have plenty else to do, I could be on the moon and they wouldn’t miss me.

Oh well, I am off anyway to two parts of the country in rapid succession with the goal of helping patients worldwide. The first stop is the meeting of the American Urological Association and the second is the meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. I’ll be in San Francisco and then Chicago to gather medical news for patients.

I am a big believer that there should not be a delay in bringing significant medical news to people living with or affected by a medical condition. For me, as a leukemia survivor, I don’t want to wait to hear about a new or better treatment. I want it now and in-depth. I don’t want to wait for my next doctor visit. And I want to hear it from the source. That’s what being a powerful patient is all about. Read more »

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

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…

Read more »

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…

Read more »

See all interviews »

Latest Cartoon

See all cartoons »

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…

Read more »

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…

Read more »

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…

Read more »

See all book reviews »