By the time I reached Dr. R, I was twelve months into an undiagnosed, severe, lower abdominal pain condition. Desperate for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan after seeing ten doctors who had misdiagnosed me, I was exhausted and beyond frustrated with the care I’d received. Seated across from Dr. R. in her office with copies of my medical records and symptom diary in tow, I waited quietly while she reviewed ...

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I accompanied my husband to an office visit with his orthopedic surgeon. Jamie had been experiencing setbacks in his recovery from major surgery. I went with him because I understand how hard it can be to distill medical information on the spot, much less remember it. Documenting what the surgeon said would allow us both to reference it later. The more information Jamie had about his condition, the more of ...

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Many of us now have high-deductible health insurance plans, which makes us “cash-pay” patients until we meet our deductibles. According to a Health Affairs health policy brief, high deductible plans are now much more prevalent in both individual and group markets. The higher the deductible, the lower the monthly premium. If you have a high deductible plan and don’t consume much medical care, you are most likely a cash pay ...

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Some say privacy is an illusion. I hope that isn’t true, but I do know that our medical records are not safe. Why should you care? Because our medical records contain our social security numbers, health insurance information, our home addresses, phone numbers, emergency contacts and their phone numbers, our email addresses, possibly our driver’s license numbers, and likely credit card payment information. Ever paid your co-pay with a credit card? Your ...

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If you weren’t aware of the prevalence and severity of diagnostic errors, (misdiagnosis, missed diagnosis, delayed diagnosis) maybe you should be now. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a new report called, Improving Diagnosis in Health Care. The report cited that most people will experience one or more diagnostic errors over their lifetimes. It also revealed that diagnostic errors contribute to 10 percent of patient deaths and account for up ...

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Perhaps we thought we could get away with ignoring the relationship between doctors and patients. The Kaiser Health News article, "Efforts to Instill Empathy Among Doctors is Paying Dividends," explains why we can’t. Patient satisfaction scores and reimbursements aside, this relationship was once considered the cornerstone of quality care. Doctors are healers but in recent years many have been reduced to diagnosticians, electronic medical records (EMR) data entry clerks, and health ...

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If I could drop our health insurance altogether, I would. With a high deductible of $4,000 for in-network providers, my family of three has yet to reach our collective deductible over the last three years. This means we have to pay out of pocket for medical care until we reach that amount. To make matters worse, our health insurance premiums increased by 10 percent, forcing us to find a less ...

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80 percent of prescriptions in the U.S. are for generic medications. Generics are supposed to be less expensive alternatives to brand name drugs. However, prices for certain generics are rapidly increasing. 50 percent of generic medications increased in price in the last year and 10 percent more than doubled in cost during the same time period. Among them are thyroid replacement hormone, doxycycline, digoxin and other heart medications, tetracycline, albuterol ...

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shutterstock_132304205 When my 82-year-old uncle had a heart attack in the kitchen of his home, I was on the next plane to the East Coast. No one knew how long his brain had been deprived of oxygen before he’d been resuscitated. As I stood next to his bed in the hospital’s ICU, I feared that my uncle would not make it. I ...

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The Business Insider article, "Senator Warns Fitbit is a Privacy Nightmare and Could be Tracking Your Movements,reports that Senator Chuck Schumer called for federal protections to prevent companies like Fitbit from collecting, sharing and selling consumer data to health insurers, employers and others. Fitbit, like Nike+FuelBand and Jawbone, sells wearable trackers that monitor sleep, health functions and physical activity. Senator Schumer accused FitBit and Smartphone apps of sharing users’ ...

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According to the recent Wall Street Journal article patients are encouraged to engage in care, keep track of their medical data, seek preventive care, and to manage their conditions. Studies show that if patients are actively involved in care and partner with providers, that they experience better health outcomes and lower costs. But for patients to be active participants in care they must acquire knowledge about their diagnoses and treatment plans, ...

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My husband suffered with hip and low back pain for about four months. It started right about the same time he was prescribed a new blood pressure medication. He didn’t think much of the pain at first because he was recovering from a groin injury, the result of a close encounter with a hockey puck while playing the game. But the pain grew in intensity over the following weeks. He’s a ...

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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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An excerpt from The Take-Charge Patient: How You Can Get The Best Medical Care (Lemon Grove Press) which will be released May 15, 2012.  Here are a few suggestions that will help you make the most of your relationship with your doctor. They are for your benefit as a patient, because the more you know, the more empowered you will feel. Remember That Doctors Are Human Beings Almost every health care professional emphasized ...

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An excerpt from The Take-Charge Patient: How You Can Get The Best Medical Care (Lemon Grove Press) which will be released May 15, 2012.  Your Relationship with Your Doctor “A good relationship with your physician can lead to better medical care.” -Zouhdi A. Hajjaj, MD, internal Medicine, Yarmouthport, MA Your relationship with your doctor is an important one that can last for many years. It is a partnership. You and your doctor collaborate to maintain your ...

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