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The Cancer Journey: Take Control Of Your Illness And Treatment

I love this – a website that could’ve ONLY been created by cancer patients. From

Find empowerment: Anything you can do to feel like you are taking control of your illness and treatment will help you. Think About Your Life was developed by cancer survivors. We have used the tools on this website in our own experiences, and we hope to inspire you do the same.

This website provides easy-to-use tools for each stage of the cancer journey to help you:

  • Process your thoughts and feelings: Elizabeth shared the “Good Day, Bad Day” tool with her family to tell them how they could help her throughout treatment.
  • Take control and make decisions: Amanda used her “One Page Profile” with her doctor to discuss the impact of treatment on her life.
  • Think about the “what now” and the “what next”: The “Hopes & Fears” tool helped Susan think about the next few months of her life after treatment.

I learned about the site from its creator, Amanda George, who commented on a recent post about person-centered health. Hot diggety. Don’t you just love how the Internet lets us connect with each other and share ideas?

*This blog post was originally published at The New Life of e-Patient Dave*

iMedExchange: Social Media Power For Physicians

If you’ve come to believe that physicians and social networks aren’t a good combination, check out this teaser from the up-and-coming physician network, iMedExchange.

While facilitated physician networks have been a difficult sell, iMedExchange appears to be delivering a fresh, expandable, next-generation platform that will offer real value for discerning doctors.

iMedExchange went into expanded beta beginning yesterday. If you were an iMed user before, watch your inbox and give it a test drive. Keep an eye on this one. I’ve had a look. It’s very nice and I understand the best is yet to come.

*This blog post was originally published at 33 Charts*

Health Journalism Gems You Shouldn’t Miss

A couple of health journalism gems you shouldn’t miss just because they were published over the holiday weekend:

Natasha Singer of the New York Times had an important piece, “When Patients Meet Online, Are There Side Effects?,” about privacy concerns when social networking sites like and offer online communities for patients and collect members’ health data for research purposes.

John Fauber of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel published another in his “Side Effects” series on conflicts of interest in healthcare. This one was about doctors vouching for the drug Multaq for treating atrial fibrillation without ever having seen all of the data.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune began a “Too Much Medicine” series. Health editor Dave Hage informs that they’ve been working on this project for nearly a year with plans for a few more installments in coming months, each covering different ailments and procedures that are over-used or under-proven. (Unfortunately, I think the series is only available in the print editions.)

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

Grand Rounds: Edition 6.34

Grand Rounds logoAs the newly-appointed director of content for Better Health and personal editorial advisor to the infamous Dr. Val, I’ve been given the honor of hosting this edition of Grand Rounds — a weekly summary of the best health blog posts on the Internet.

This week’s submissions cover a nice mix of issues important to health and medicine, which I’m presenting in super-organized, far-from-creative alphabetical order. (Excuse my conservativeness as I’m originally a product of the Mayo Clinic, and even after jumping ship nearly five years ago, I’m still affected due to my unchanged physical location — I’ll find my more liberal social-media sea legs soon, promise!)

From geriatrics to Viagra, PET scans to personality disorders, dentists to American Idol, you’ll find it in this ever-so-tidy session of Grand Rounds.

Best of health,


A Healthy Piece Of Mind puts cancer in the context of the Serenity Prayer: The Audacity Of Trope: Cancer Stories.

ACP Hospitalist reports that the FDA has launched a campaign to help healthcare providers report misleading drug advertising and promotion: Join The Ad Police!

ACP Internist writes that telemedicine is changing the playing field in primary care as internists sign up to diagnose patients over the Internet: Doctors Delivering Diagnoses Online.

Behaviorism And Mental Health shares the idea that it’s wrong to consider certain lifestyles and mindsets as pathological: Personality Disorders Are Not Illnesses.

Colorado Health Insurance Insider blogs about how hospitals that don’t treat Medicaid patients will end up losing money under the new healthcare reform law: Colorado Expanding Access To Medicaid And CHP+.

Diabetes Mine writes about American Idol contestant Crystal Bowersox and how the media has reacted to her having diabetes: Doin’ Her Thing With The ‘Betes.

EverythingHealth offers tips on how to keep kids safe when communicating with others on the Internet: Keeping Kids Safe On Social Networking Sites.

Health AGEnda discusses a recent article calling for improved training in geriatrics for primary care physicians: Report From The Brain Trust.

HealthBlawg tells how electronic health records will soon be required as a condition of licensure for doctors and healthcare centers in Massachusetts: HIT Incentives In Massachusetts: Less Carrot, More Stick.

HealthNewsReview comments on Senator David Vitter’s recent request to have the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services remove breast cancer screening recommendations from its website: Senator Strikes Out By Politicizing Mammography Recommendations.

How To Cope With Pain explains that change is hard and offers the helpful advice of trying “half a habit” at first: Change A Habit Slooowly.

In Sickness And In Health (U.K.) summarizes new research that suggests that Viagra may improve the delivery of chemotherapy drugs in women with breast cancer that has spread to the brain: Viagra Could Help Women Too, But Not How You Think.

In Sickness And In Health (U.S.) writes about couples and illness, describing how other relationships in your life can affect your health or your partner’s health: My Mother, My Partner?

Jill Of All Trades, MD provides a public health doctor’s tips for patients who don’t have health insurance: My Top-15 Resource List For The Uninsured.

Laika’s MedLibBlog highlights research on how lack of sleep can affect your risk for obesity, diabetes and heart disease: What One Short Night’s Sleep Does To Your Glucose Metabolism.

Lockup Doc talks about when non-psychiatric illnesses in people with mental health histories are minimized or dismissed by healthcare providers: Psychiatric Patients With Medical Illness May Not Be Taken Seriously.

MD Whistleblower warns that dentists’ habit of overprescribing penicillin has “serious consequences” for patients: Why Do Dentists Prescribe Antibiotics So Often?

MedInnovationBlog talks about the obsession Americans have with medical technology and how it affects healthcare: Americans And Their Medical Machines.

Mental Notes debunks myths about depression after childbirth and reports on a recent study that used PET scanning to identify new moms at higher risk: What Causes Postpartum Depression?

Novel Patient shares thoughts on facing life’s difficulties and how to keep a positive attitude: Seeing Double.

Nutrition Wonderland presents new research on obesity that helps explain why dieting doesn’t always work as expected: When Cutting Calories Doesn’t Cut It.

Nuts For Healthcare says that “big pharma” should pay attention to significant advances in vaccine development: Vaccines, Vaccines…And How We Got To Provenge.

Supporting Safer Healthcare highlights confidentiality concerns about using portable data devices to store sensitive healthcare information and patients’ medical records: Lost Data Causing “10-Out-Of-10” Pain For Healthcare.

Suture For A Living tells the story of a recent brush with domestic abuse and provides resources to get help if you need it: Domestic Violence.

The Covert Rationing Blog conducts an “intervention” on behalf of two fellow medical bloggers in regards to American obesity, discrimination, and “demonizing” the obese: Defending The Anti-Obesity Movement, Again.

The Examining Room Of Dr. Charles tells the story of how a patient triggered memories of a doctor’s first experience with human anatomy: White Silken Ribbons.

The Happy Hospitalist says one group of physicians at his hospital wants to be compensated for their time on call: Should Hospitals Pay Doctors To Be On Call?

The Value Of Social Media For Patients, Doctors And Nurses

A patient apologized to me for asking so many questions. “There’s no need to apologize,” I said to the patient, “It’s wonderful that you have so many questions concerning your healthcare.” I mentioned to her that she is an “empowered and engaged patient,” and that’s a good thing.

It’s no secret that health consumers are turning to the Internet for health information.

In a recent article from MediaPost News, Gavin O’Malley writes that, according to new a study by Epsilon Strategic & Analytic Consulting Group, “40% of online consumers use social media for health information — reading or posting content — while the frequency of engagement varies widely. According to the study, individuals who use healthcare social media fall into two broad groups: the 80% who are highly engaged patients, and take active roles in health management; and the 20% who lack confidence to play an active role in their own health.” Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Health in 30*

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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