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The Empowered Patient: How to Get the Right Diagnosis, Buy the Cheapest Drugs, Beat Your Insurance Company, and Get the Best Medical Care Every Time Kindle Edition
• find a doctor who “gets” you and listens to you
• ask the right questions for the best treatment
• make the most out of a short office visit
• cut out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs
• harness the power of the Internet for medical issues
• fight back when claims are denied
Combining the personal stories of patients across America with crucial advice on receiving the best possible health care, this guide will enable you to confront an often confusing and perilous system—and come out ahead.
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“A book no household should be without.”—Sanjay Gupta, MD
“The Empowered Patient is a must-read for everyone. Elizabeth Cohen reveals insider knowledge about the uncertainty of medicine—things every doctor knows—and then helps you steer a clear path to health!”—Christiane Northrup, MD, author of Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom
“Elizabeth Cohen offers guidance to get the most from your doctor, your insurance company, and even your medicine. This book will hold your hand, make you smart, and may even save your life.”—Nancy Snyderman, MD, chief medical editor, NBC News
From the Trade Paperback edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- ASIN : B003F3PN60
- Publisher : Ballantine Books; 1st edition (August 10, 2010)
- Publication date : August 10, 2010
- Language : English
- File size : 3213 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Sticky notes : On Kindle Scribe
- Print length : 242 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,349,908 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
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Agencies like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) each publish their own consumer health information that is disconnected from similar, often repetitive and sometimes inconsistent information published by their sister agencies or even by different branches within their own agency.
Consider the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Researchers have identified more than two million pages of health information at its nearly two dozen different institutes where each institute is focused on its own alphabet soup of abbreviations, acronyms and medical terms that are meaningless to most consumers. Each of these institutes maintains its own web site with different, and often overly complicated, user interface designs, terminology, search functions and site maps.
Take the example a pregnant woman who has just been told by her doctor that she may have a serious condition called preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is a common complication of pregnancy that affects blood pressure and kidney function. In order to locate comprehensive government information on this disease, the patient would have to go to at least six different sites: NICHD (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development) for pregnancy information, NHLBI (National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute) for information on high blood pressure and NIDDK (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases) for information on the kidney function. Then, if she wanted information on treatments, she would have to go to the FDA web site because none of the diseases at NIH are linked to information on drugs, side effects, brand names, generics, etc. provided by the FDA (which is less than 5 miles up the road from the NIH). For additional treatment options, she would have to visit NCCAM (National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine).
All of these centers and agencies are branches of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) which operates yet another consumer health portal, healthfinder-dot-gov.
Another example is autism. Information on this condition is independently covered by 28 separate articles distributed over five different NIH institutes including NHGRI (National Human Genome Research Institute), NINDS (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke), NIEHS (National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences), NIDCD (National Institute of Deafness and Communication Disorders) and NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health). None of these articles are content-coordinated and you'd be hard pressed to find any cross-referencing to similar information on different NIH web sites. There are no links either to or from the proprietary health information products licensed by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and made available through MedlinePlus.
For the average consumer, the multiple complex steps necessary to locate all relevant "dot-gov" health information on a particular topic are impossible. Even if they wanted to "Go Beyond Google," few if any "dot-gov" sites are even close to the top of the list when results from a health query are returned. The Obama administration is spending tens of billions of dollars on health information technology but most of the emphasis is on electronic health records which will have only a delayed and indirect effect on consumers' health and perceptions of healthcare reform. Perhaps some money should also be spent on resources and tools to directly empower patients.
If Ms. Cohen (and Ms. Parker-Pope) are going to make sweeping recommendations about "dot-gov" web sites, perhaps they ought to do a little more "detective work" on what they're recommending.
Data sources: Resounding Health and e-patients-dot-net
Although some physicians may be insulted by the author's characterization of the medical profession, she cuts to the quick in identifying dozens of problems inherent in the American system. As I read, I couldn't help thinking that many of these difficulties must plague other health care systems as well: the time pressure that doctors constantly struggle against, the flawed communication between patients and physicians, the many obstructions to finding the correct diagnosis for every patient, the dangers of hospitalizations.
'The Empowered Patient' is a practical patient-oriented manual for dealing with the current health system as it is, warts and all. Elizabeth Cohen does a great job demonstrating how informed and persistent patients can make the best of an imperfect system. I expect her discussion of the doctor-patient relationship will embolden many a person to speak up, demand what is needed, or change doctors if necessary.
Her chapter on internet medicine should be a wake-up call to physicians. In this age of information overload, it's impossible for a physician to be an expert on every disease. We need to find better ways to work together without feeling threatened. As the author points out, individual patients have more time to research their own condition than does a physician. I, too, have had patients help diagnose their own problems by sifting through hours of medical information. I appreciate Elizabeth's advice for patients to seek out trusted web sites (which she identifies), and how to approach your physician with a summary of the information.
Again and again throughout the book I was struck with how time pressure undermines our current health care system. Doctors are compelled to crank out patients, at least if they want to stay in business. Hospitals are understaffed, leading to communication problems and treatment errors. Although physicians may grasp a plan of therapy for an individual within minutes, it takes much longer for a patient to comprehend something new and unfamiliar. Payment is determined largely by documentation, and if forced to choose between direct patient care and documentation, professionals (who need an income) are forced to choose the latter.
I appreciate how the author has chosen to reach out to patients who need help navigating our current health system. These problems will not be solved overnight, so her advice will remain relevant for years, perhaps decades, to come.
Cynthia J. Koelker, MD
Author, 101 Ways to Save Money on Health Care
101 Ways to Save Money on Health Care: Tips to Help You Spend Smart and Stay Healthy