Health Education

How Patient Advocates Can Improve Health Literacy

How Patient Advocates Can Improve Health Literacy

Many clinicians, insurance company claims representatives, lobbyists, and directors of medical associations do not realize how many adults in the U.S. (90 million) are not conversant with navigating the health care system. Even if they are aware of the fact itself, the seriousness of the implications may escape them. Low levels of health education...

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Situation Critical! My latest blog for First Stop Health.

Situation Critical! My latest blog for First Stop Health.

My March blog at First Stop Health‘s invitation, an affordable medical advice service allowing healthcare consumers 24/7 telephone access to a doctor (including prescription filling), focused on the importance of health literacy. There is a direct relationship between a high health literacy score and good health. The opposite is also true: low health literacy has a...

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Obesity: Stop Blaming the Victim, Please!

Obesity: Stop Blaming the Victim, Please!

          The obesity issue is rife with misinformation and oversimplification. Being overweight is not just about gluttony. Indeed, many overweight people eat far less than their thinner counterparts. First, note that discriminating against fat people seems to be the last remaining bastion of bigotry that is socially acceptable. Regardless of...

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What Can One Person Do to Improve Health Care Quality?

What Can One Person Do to Improve Health Care Quality?

Because our current health care system places patients in the position of caveat emptor (“Buyer Beware”), we cannot currently rely upon medical providers to maintain, much less implement, even basic patient safety protocols. Just a few examples include (1) your assuming that a doctor complies with hand hygiene, or (2) that hospitals wipe surfaces...

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Ouch! That Hurts!

Ouch! That Hurts!

  A patient is offered Vicodin (an opioid) at an E.R. for a sprained ankle and level 5 pain. Proponents of the war on drugs (which isn’t winnable) contend that this is inappropriate because of lack of efficacy and the risk of addition/tolerance. As one physician stated (without citing any studies): “Narcotics have no...

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What is “Informed Consent”?

What is “Informed Consent”?

How Informed is Informed Consent? It depends. The term Informed Consent means that you have been told of the reason for a procedure, the alternatives to the procedure, the risks and benefits, and the likelihood that the procedure will be helpful. The term applies not only to medical care that you need but also...

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Educational Podcasts for the Health Care Consumer

Educational Podcasts for the Health Care Consumer

Free podcasts are available to the general public, courtesy of my professional association, the National Association of Healthcare Advocacy Consultants (NAHAC).   For instance, Richard Heasley, director of San Francisco’s Conard House, presented a teleconference on May 16, 2012  entitled “Effective Teamwork with Psychiatric Patients.” Other topics include eldercare, patient safety, Medicare, and many others. You can...

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Caveat emptor*

Caveat emptor*

There is a Catch-22 (well, one of several) for health care consumers trying to manage medical expenses. This is especially galling if you happen to be in a so-called “consumer-directed health plan,” also known as a high-deductible plan. What’s the catch? The idea of the consumer-directed plan is to make you aware of how...

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Trust Your Instincts!

Trust Your Instincts!

As a patient advocate, I’ve sometimes had to explain to clients that often a positive result from an early diagnostic will not change their medical regime. Additionally, many health issues in early stages either do not progress or, thanks to homeostasis or perhaps just the vagaries of life, sometimes self-resolve. 

Too much medical treatment...

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It’s here! National Patient Safety Awareness Week: March 4 – March 10

It’s here! National Patient Safety Awareness Week: March 4 – March 10

“Be Aware for Safe Care” is this year’s theme of the National Patient Safety Foundation. The NPSF leads global efforts to promote patient safety awareness among health care providers and consumers. Every year the NPSF reaffirms the Universal Patient Compact, a set of principles which emphasize the importance of partnership between patients and providers....

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