on October 21, 2012
Dr. Liu offers tips for selecting a doctor, questioning the necessity of tests and procedures, choosing less expensive treatments, getting a second opinion, and learning to get the most out of a short doctor visit. He explains why annual check ups may not be necessary, and lists all the preventive health screening tests you'll need (according to age) to maximize your chance of avoiding many major diseases or their expensive outcomes.
According to Liu, an excellent primary care physician (PCP) can be the best ally in avoiding unnecessary medical costs. Without a PCP's guidance, 60% of patients select the wrong specialist for their symptoms or concerns. This can trigger a costly cascade of extra testing and referrals. Liu recommends trustworthy websites that can aid in disease management and patient education - suggesting that "Dr. Google" may not be so bad after all, armed with a correct diagnosis from a healthcare professional and links to credible sources of information.
Being thrifty isn't necessarily "sexy" - but practical tips for avoiding unnecessary and expensive interactions with the healthcare system could add up to some pretty amazing savings (both financially and emotionally). Anyone who takes Dr. Liu's advice to heart is likely to live longer and better - I just hope that the people who could benefit most from these tips find their way to this book.
on November 7, 2012
This concise follow-up to Dr. Liu's critically reviewed first book (Stay Healthy, Live Longer, Spend Wisely) draws on his decade of clinical experience as a family physician at the Permanente Medical Group in California; interactions with leading physicians on social media (Full disclosure: I'm one of them); and a clear-eyed understanding of the evidence on what it takes to prevent chronic illness and keep patients healthy. The most valuable part of this book is the chapter "The Mistakes Healthy Patients Often Make," which reviews high-quality screening guidelines for adults and punctures myths about commonly used but often harmful screenings such as cardiovascular stress tests and ovarian cancer tests in asymptomatic patients. There are also great chapters devoted to how to "make every doctor visit count" and describing the various physicians and other medical team members that a patient might encounter. Although Dr. Liu's book is written for patients, it's also worthwhile reading for health professionals who want to improve the quality of care they provide.
Kenny Lin, MD