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Latest Posts

The Rising Price Of Health Care: How Are People Dealing With The Expense?

A couple of weeks ago, I was asked to speak as a patient about “consumers and cost information” while being videotaped for use in the annual meeting of the Aligning Forces for Quality initiative funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

RWJF Video - This Costs How Much?

I admire the aims of this initiative – “to lift the overall quality of health care in targeted communities, reduce racial and ethnic disparities and provide models for national reform” – and I think it has taught us some valuable lessons about what it takes to make even slight course corrections in the trajectory of the huge aircraft carrier that is health care.

Plus, I have listened to hundreds of people talk about their experiences with the rising price of health care: who thinks about it when and why, what individuals do to cut back on the expense, where they have been successful and where not. I’ve heard lots of stories, most of them involving Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Prepared Patient Forum: What It Takes Blog*

Online Medical Records: Not All Patients Want All That

Anytime you come across a healthcare article that implies that every patient wants access to this or that – i.e. their medical record, patient-centered care, etc. – you can safely assume that the claim is wrong. Why? Patients are not a monolithic group –- they don’t all share the same motivations, preferences, beliefs or experiences when it comes to their health.

But let’s face. If you are trying to push an agenda, just saying some people want this or that is not the same as implying that everyone wants it.

Take the issue of patient access to physician notes in their medical record. Robert Wood Johnson (RWJ) recently announced their OpenNotes study. The OpenNotes project will evaluate the impact on both patients and physicians of sharing, through online medical record portals, the comments and observations made by physicians after each patient encounter. Okay…so far, so good.

Things begin to fall apart, however, when RWJ cites “a recent study“ in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, as part of the basis for the OpenNotes research. According to RWJ, the study found that “most consumers want full access to their medical records.” Since when did six focus groups (64 people) constitute a representative sample, e.g. most people? Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Mind The Gap*

Games For Health 2010

Games For Health 2010It’s time for the 6th annual Games for Health conference. The conference, in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, provides a forum for experts in the fields of video games, healthcare, and science to come together and share the latest and greatest in health-related video game news and research.

From their promotional pamphlet:

Because digital games can actively engage and challenge people of all ages, they have the ability to help individuals manage chronic illnesses, support physical rehabilitation, pursue wellness goals and contribute to changes in health behaviors. Public health leaders, doctors and nurses, rehabilitation specialists, emergency first responders and other health professionals are also using games and game technologies to advance their skills and enhance how they deliver care and services. Games are even beginning to mine the wisdom of the crowds to forge critical new discoveries in biology and genomics.

The acceptance of games as a valuable health management and training method, the popular success of consoles like the Nintendo Wii, and the growth of smartphone game applications indicate that there is tremendous potential for continuing to move health and behavior change activities beyond clinical settings and the classroom and into consumers’ home, work, social and recreational spaces.

We’ll be reporting throughout the event (May 25-27). Stay tuned for info on the PS3 Move, a Wii laparoscopic trainer, and more.

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

The Relationships Between Poverty and Healthcare

Readers interested in the relationships between poverty and healthcare will want to read several new postings on the Web.

One is an article about my Rhoades Lecture at the Wayne County Medical Society in Detroit, “Poverty and Healthcare in America.” It is posted on the World Socialist Web Site.

Second is by James Marks, MD, MPH, Vice President of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, entitled “The Poor Feel Poorly.” It is posted on the Huffington Post site.

Third is “Health and Healthcare in America’s Poorest City,” a tragic and dramatic portrayal of America’s failures to its own in Detroit, also on the World Socialist Web Site.

Finally, here is a link to a collection of papers on social inequalities in health by the McArthur Network on SES and Health, published by the New York Academy of Medicine under the title, “Biology of Disadvantage.”

*This blog post was originally published at PHYSICIANS and HEALTH CARE REFORM Commentaries and Controversies*

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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