Have you ever been a patient? Yeah, me too. Many newly insured Americans will visit doctors’ offices this year. The average time you -- or anyone -- has with a primary care provider is 15 minutes. What’s a sick person to do? Happier patients make happier doctors. Here’s a helpful list that I’ve developed to help patient visits go smoother: 1. Pick three questions or concerns that you have for your doctor and write ...

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shutterstock_85837342 I thank God every day that a doctor had the audacity to say to me, “You are going to have to learn to live with this.” I was 21. Newly married. And covered, from head to toe, in a burning, painful, itchy rash. I was sitting on a table, decked in a gown, with my husband in a chair by my side. I was ...

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shutterstock_73029814 Ask anyone connected with health care these days to provide a definition for patient engagement and you will likely receive as many answers as there are agendas surrounding the discipline. While patient engagement has evolved as a critical strategy in support of the ultimate goal of creating improved health for a total population, you would think that a mandate for a unified ...

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A version of this speech was delivered May 14, 2015 to the graduating class at the University of Manitoba. I’m not a doctor. I never will be. I’m a lowly journalist. I tell stories.  For almost 30 years, I’ve tried to help Canadians understand their health system and their medical care. In that time, I’ve seen tremendous advances in medicine and I’ve met, quite literally, thousands of health professionals, from students to ...

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shutterstock_32952331 As first-year family medicine residents, our patient care experiences really run the gamut, since our training truly encompasses “cradle to grave” care.  With the exception of most pediatric care, the issue of narcotic prescribing and addiction is seen in all specialties, as well as frequently in continuity clinic where we care for our own primary care patients.  As dangerous as opiate ...

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shutterstock_174393956 One Google search can sometimes change everything. After learning something new about our child’s health or condition, especially for worried parents and caregivers, leveraging online search as a resource in diagnosis, clarification and education is typical behavior. Searching out support, camaraderie and tips online just makes sense. In fact, 2013 data from the Pew Research Center finds that 1 in 3 Americans ...

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Before I got into medical school, while I was still in my first year of graduate school, I learned what hell was like. The hospital was a rabbit warren. Walking down the long empty beige halls fueled my hatred for hospitals.  And, of the color beige. When I had volunteered during college, I would press myself up against the wall whenever a gaggle of doctors passed by. They ruled the hospital: powerful, ...

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On October 10, 2013, the Boston Public Library held an author event featuring Dr. Sheri Fink, she of the MD/PhD braininess that appears to be in constant triage mode; she famously skipped her own medical school graduation to assist refugees on the Kosovo-Macedonia border during the war in Kosovo.  Five Days at Memorial had recently come out, and her talk that early fall evening definitely had the feel of a ...

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shutterstock_10582288 I've been volunteering in an emergency department of a Southern Californian community hospital for five years. I clean gurneys, stock shelves, provide support for RNs and EMTs and translate for Spanish-speaking patients. Since my job requires minimal intellectual effort, I’ve had considerable time to observe the staff and contemplate the inspiring work they do. I’ve watched them perform heroically with sick babies, ...

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Ever wonder what patients think of when you see them in the hospital?  Here's the answer, in this powerful video from the Cleveland Clinic.

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