This is the time many of us make resolutions about our lives -- often tied to our health and wellness. As the health care industry enters a new era of consumerism, people are seeking more and more ways to take ownership over their health and health care. While data about doctors, hospitals and health outcomes are becoming more available and transparent, we still have a long way to go. Perhaps in a ...

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There are certain situations in my life where I feel really stupid. One is when CNBC's Squawk Box senior economics reporter Steve Liesman discusses the bond market. While I recognize the words he uses as English grammar,  I find almost every word to be incomprehensible gibberish.  Recently, he informed me that “given the Feds propensity towards quantitative easing in Q4 the 10 year yield could hit 3%.” I think that ...

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Silence -- it's deafening. I look around at this empty apartment and take in the sinking feeling that I'm alone. New Yorkers seem to crave "alone time." I see individuals sitting on park benches all over the city, stealing moments, staring into space, encased in an invisible aura of solitude. It's quite a feat actually to do this amidst the noise and tidal wave of humanity that ebbs and flows through ...

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You may have noticed an uptick in messages from your health plan or clinician notifying you that "You are the captain of your health care team." I have seen them here and here and here and here, for example. My response to this message? Bad metaphor: I am not the captain of my health care team. I may -- on some days -- consider myself a member of that team, should I actually be cared ...

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It happened out of the blue, as such experiences often do. I had parked my car and was walking a short distance from the public parking deck on a covered concrete sidewalk, past the open expanse of lawn and twinkling Christmas lights in front of the hospital. I was going to visit a friend who had just had surgery, and it had been quite some time since I had been in ...

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The first thing we need to do is analyze what’s broken. Let’s approach this problem as if it were a patient in our office. It’s our job to deliver a diagnosis based on the patient’s problem. That’s easy; we’re doctors, after all. "So, what seems to be the problem today, Mrs. Smith?  How can I help you?” “Well, it seems that no matter how hard I try, I can’t make progress. I want to ...

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I’ve been chronically ill since I contracted a viral infection in 2001. Were I to recover, I’d take these six hard-earned lessons with me into the land of the healthy. 1. Less is more. I used to be an accumulator. My life was filled with stuff: books and magazines that sat unread; CDs; jewelry; knickknacks and trinkets; clothing and all its accompaniments (shoes, belts, scarves). Since becoming sick, I’ve learned that less ...

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Current efforts of clinicians, hospitals and researchers to make health care more "patient-centered" include inviting some of us to advise on research priorities, care organization and delivery under the assumption that, as patients, we understand what patient-centered outcomes and care are. These invitations and our acceptance of them often result in confusion and disappointment for everyone, regardless of good intentions. What do patients know about the inner workings of ...

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January of 2010 initiated me into the life of a chronic pain patient. For sixteen months I plunged into a diagnosis journey that brought with it ten misdiagnoses by eleven respected physicians, fifteen procedures and tests, twenty-two medications and crushing pelvic pain. People have asked me if I am angry about it all; the misdiagnoses, prolonged pain, time spent, needless tests and sometimes painful procedures. Anger is not the presiding feeling, ...

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I don’t remember three days of my life. I have generally felt in control of my life and behavior. Although I understand the future is always uncertain, I do as much as I can to plan for it and minimize risk to myself and my family. This includes focusing on avoidance of stress, healthy eating, and daily exercise. Despite this, anything is subject to change at any time for no apparent ...

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