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A “Third Place” In Healthcare: What We Can Learn From Starbucks

Media reports on misdiagnosis continue to mount. A recent study on patients with Alzheimer’s found that half had been misdiagnosed. Half.

Another headline blared “4 out of 10 patients being misdiagnosed.” The article encouraged patients to “see another doctor” if they are worried about their diagnosis.

You know what it makes me think about? Starbucks. Why? Because the way Starbucks revolutionized coffee drinking shows a way forward for healthcare.

Starbucks realized that since our lives focus on two places — home and work — most of us don’t have a “third place” to go. A place where we can be free of everyday distractions and take care of ourselves. Starbucks set out to create that “third place” by making its shops comfortable, inviting places. It works. “Third place” makes customers’ lives better — and Starbucks has almost 20,000 shops to prove it.

It’s time for a kind of “third place” in healthcare. Healthcare focuses on two places, too: The doctor’s office and the hospital. Both places are difficult for patients. Patients complain of not getting enough time from their overworked doctors, and studies of things that go wrong in hospitals are equally disturbing.

There really isn’t a “third place” to go to in healthcare. Somewhere that you can step outside of the difficult process of being sick. Somewhere you can get a quiet, clear perspective of what is going on.

Now, some people are lucky and can turn to relatives or friends who are doctors to provide some of that “third place” experience. But most people can’t. At Best Doctors, we’re creating the experience of a healthcare “third place.” We do it by taking the time to review each case, have doctors think about what’s happening, consult with experts, and share advice. Read more »

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

Big Breakfast, Big Calories: Rethink Your Morning “Fuel Up”

Haven’t we all learned that breakfast should be our biggest meal? ”Start the day with ‘fuel’ and you can burn it off as the day goes on.” “Eat a big breakfast and you’ll eat fewer calories all day long.”

This advice is probably not true, and in fact a new study published in the January 17th issue Nutrition Journal shows that people ate the same at lunch and dinner regardless of what they had at breakfast. If a person ate 1,000 calories at breakfast (which is easy to do with bacon, eggs, toast, hashbrowns, and juice), he or she had a total increase in calories eaten throughout the day by 1,000 calories.

This doesn’t mean we should be skipping breakfast. The problem may be what we historically think of as an “American” breakfast. It might have worked for the farmer in the past or the laborer hauling lumber, but it’s just too many calories for our current level of activity. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*

When Doctors Consider A Career Change

What awaits some physicians who decide to quit medicine:

A cartoon guide to non clinical jobs for doctors

Source: A Cartoon Guide to Becoming a Doctor

*This blog post was originally published at*

Healthcare Engagement: Most Companies Are Not Meeting Employee Expectations

nancyturettEdelman has been a leader in surveying and analyzing consumer health opinion on a global scale. In 2008 they released the results of a Health Engagement Barometer, confirming the public’s strong desire for personal engagement with health experts and peers online and beyond. I clearly remember Edelman’s revelation that medical bloggers (particularly healthcare professional bloggers) are one of the most trusted sources of health information online. That made me feel good.

This time around, Edelman created a new survey (The Health Engagement Pulse) focused on consumer expectations of their employers. The results reflect a further shift away from traditional siloed roles and relationships (where employers have nothing directly to do with healthcare) and a new era of blended responsibility. To understand this shift, I interviewed Nancy Turett, Edelman’s Global President of Health. Please listen to the audio interview or enjoy the synopsis below.

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December 1st Is World AIDS Day

Photo of StarBucks Aids Day

This is one awareness day where your coffee habit can make a difference. Starbucks is donating 5¢ to the Global Fund for every Starbucks beverage sold on December 1, 2008 at participating US and Canada locations.

h/t Emergiblog

And Dr. Anonymous has a nice post about World AIDS Day, citing this letter from a survivor:

(This is an excerpt from a letter to the editor from the Cleveland Plain Dealer from November 30, 2008):

I am a 20-year survivor living with AIDS, and another World AIDS Day (Monday) is fast approaching. Food trays once left at hospital room doors of those dying from AIDS are now being served. The preventative measure of “gown ing-up” has come and gone. However, the stigma of AIDS has stayed unchanged. Sadly, there are conflicting AIDS transmission fears and infection rates spiraling out of control.

I am blessed in that I am still here, with thinning hair, bifocals and my AARP card in hand. I am living proof of the incredible medical strides made in managing HIV/AIDS. I am blessed in living to see nieces and nephews come into my world and bring forth great-nieces and great-nephews. I am blessed in that I continue to continue. I still grieve for the many friends I’ve lost to AIDS.

This year, another 56,000-plus Americans will become needlessly infected with HIV/AIDS. We know how to prevent HIV infection. We need to wage a War on AIDS in America. We know how to win it.
Robert W. Toth — Cleveland, OH

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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