The e-patient movement represents everything that is positive in medicine today.  This grass roots force has introduced shared decision making and empowered both physician and patient.  The quality of health care dialogue has risen meteorically both in the exam room and out.  Today's health care "consumer" is more engaged, more intelligent, and more agile at wending their way through the confusing maze of sickness and health. It's awfully sad that it ...

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Many of our patients are besieged with unsolicited Internet advertisements offering them unbelievable solutions and cures to most of mankind’s medical maladies.  Patients come to and ask for advice about these promises to magically restore their health. Since I receive so many requests from patients to evaluate these offerings, I have put together five questions that patients should ask themselves before proceeding to buy from websites offering outlandish claims, including restoring ...

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Just a few years ago it seemed that advocates for health care transparency had scored a big victory. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that they would rate nursing homes by awarding five stars to the best and fewer stars to lower-quality facilities. Families searching for care for loved ones would have access to a familiar rating system to help them make choices. After all, star ratings for ...

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Everyone involved in health care, and particularly hospital care, has witnessed a sea change over the last decade. Things that were never even thought about, let alone formally taught to frontline doctors and nurses, have now come to the forefront. Chief among these is the drive towards improving patient satisfaction and delivering a more optimal hospital experience. True, a large part of this is due to federal incentives and tying reimbursements ...

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Consider the messages that tattoos are sending Ink is everywhere these days, and I don’t mean on newspapers or in magazines. Tattoos are far more pervasive than I can ever recall in my fifty years. There was a time, when I was young, that boys were awestruck by the old Navy veterans, whose arms bore anchors, and the Marines with Semper Fi across their battle scarred chests. Occasionally, ...

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I wish I had a dollar every time someone gets misty-eyed about the physician-patient relationship -- and two dollars every time they say protecting it is the key to health care. That might be true, if you thought health care was awesome circa 1960. Hereʼs what the physician-patient relationship meant back then: Physicians say, patients pay. We have seen little progress since then. The claim that the relationship is now symmetrical ...

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An interview with Jessie Gruman Jessie Gruman, who sadly died July 14, 2014, was someone I greatly admired as a person and as a patient activist. I interviewed her in late April for research I was conducting on patient activism, and she graciously allowed me to publish the interview, wanting, not surprisingly for those who knew her, to do everything she could to use ...

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In medicine, the patient is not always right Beginning with the Institute of Medicine's (IOM) landmark Quality Chasm report in the late 1990s, the health policy establishment, the medical profession and the American public began to hear a new and disconcerting message: American health care was not patient-centered. The IOM prescribed a number of recommendations to redesign health care delivery, one calling for patients as the source of control over their care. "Patients should ...

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A popular television commercial shows a group of older women playing cards. One woman talks about her friend who is struggling financially since her husband died (the husband only had a small life insurance policy). Another lady said that she doesn’t have to worry about that happening since her husband has an XYZ insurance policy. The other ladies immediately ask about the policy. Then a TV pitchman describes the policy ...

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Before losing my health insurance in 2009, it never occurred to me to be concerned about a little thing like a blood test.  Since 1986 I’d been having three vials of blood drawn each year during my physical.  My doctor would authorize it, the nurse would draw the blood in the office and send it to the lab for processing. A few days later she would call me with the results ...

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