Navigating the Health Care System

Navigating the Health Care System

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December 6 2011 20111206

Tools Help You Choose a Good Nursing Home

Finding a high-quality nursing home for a family member is a daunting task.Many people have not had to make this decision before. And it's often made under stress, when asking good questions and thinking carefully about your options are harder than usual.Fortunately, more information is available that can help you learn about nursing home quality and prepare you to make a well-informed decision.Start this process with an online tool from the Federal Government called Nursing Home Compare.... Read more

November 1 2011 20111101

How to Get a Good Value When Choosing a Health Plan

Welcome to November—with its shorter days, cooler weather, and, for many, decisions about choosing a health insurance plan for the coming year. Whether you're covered by an employer's plan, by Medicare, or you are self-employed or unemployed, doing homework during "open enrollment" can help you get the best value for your money.You may find that you have more options for 2012.Overall, employers that offer health coverage are providing more choices, according to recent... Read more

October 4 2011 20111004

New Initiative Urges Better Communication between Clinicians and Patients

Even with heart disease and diabetes, Bill Lee didn't see the point in asking questions about his medical care. After all, his doctors had the expertise, not him. And if the medicines they prescribed for his conditions didn't make him feel better, what could he do?After having 10 heart attacks and feeling sicker, the 55-year-old Baltimore resident knew he had to get serious about his health. Bill began doing something important: He asked his doctors and nurses questions and he let them... Read more

September 6 2011 20110906

Research on Women's Health Issues Informs Treatment Choices

As individuals, we want choices that reflect who we are and what's right for our situation. Getting the right health care is no different.Until recently, information that showed which treatments work best for certain groups of patients, especially women, was hard to find.Now women's health research is a growing field. The Women's Health Initiative (WHI), a long-term study launched by the late National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Bernadine Healy, MD, has provided important... Read more

August 2 2011 20110802

Why You Need to Explore Your Treatment Options

Hearing that you have diabetes, high blood pressure, or some other serious condition can be a life-changing moment. Finding the best treatment option to manage it takes a bit longer, but it can make a major difference in your health and well-being.Patients often think only their doctors and nurses know what to do. And they do have skills and training to help you. But keep in mind that you're the one with the serious condition. It is important to understand your condition, know how medicines... Read more

July 5 2011 20110705

Resources to Help You Be a Better Caregiver

Many of us are—or will become—a caregiver to a parent, spouse, child, or other loved one. When that happens, you will need to find out a lot about a disease or condition, ask good questions about treatment options, and make the best decisions you can. But don't be surprised if, like me, you also learn some things you wished you had known earlier. For the past few years, I was an intermittent "virtual" caregiver to my 82-year-old father, Patrick, who died last fall. Even though he lived 450... Read more

June 7 2011 20110607

New Public Service Campaign Urges Hispanics To Talk With Their Doctor

Hispanics are less likely to see a doctor or other health professionals regularly than other ethnics groups. The data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality is startling. Half (47 percent) of adult Hispanics reported that they did not see a doctor in 2008, compared with 29 percent of adults in other ethnic groups.Why is there such a gap? One reason is the lack of health insurance. One in three, or 33 percent, of Hispanics under age 65 did not have health insurance coverage in 2009,... Read more

May 3 2011 20110503

Safety Culture Creates Better Care for Patients

The more we know about safety, the better. That's why a landmark report on medical errors from the Institute of Medicine remains as important today as it did when it came out 10 years ago. Called "To Err is Human," the report urged hospitals to develop a "culture of safety" to reduce risks and improve care for patients. Today, safety culture plays a big role in health care. Doctors, nurses, and other health care workers are learning that a positive safety culture can improve patient... Read more

April 5 2011 20110405

Health IT Tools Help with Care and Costs

More hospitals and doctors' offices are using health information technology (health IT). And that's good news for patients.One of the most popular uses of health IT is the electronic health record. These records put your health data—medical history, medicines, allergies, test results, and more—all in one place. This saves you and your medical team time. It also reduces the chance of an error like getting a drug you're allergic to. A complete electronic health record is... Read more

March 1 2011 20110301

What You Can Do To Prevent A Fall

When kids fall down, they can usually get up and return to play quickly. But for older adults, falls can be serious.Among adults over age 65, falls are a threat to health and independence. They are also common. More than one-third of adults over age 65 fall each year. They account for about 2 million emergency department visits, data collected by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality shows. About three-quarters of those treated are women.One-third of older adults who fall suffer... Read more

February 1 2011 20110201

Focus on Heart Health

February is a time when love is in the air. It is also American Heart Month. While you're thinking of hearts this Valentine's Day, do yourself—and your loved ones—a favor: focus on your own heart.Heart disease is the number one killer in America. Nearly 2,400 Americans die each day from it. About one in three Americans has one or more kinds of heart disease.One common type is coronary artery disease. This occurs when the arteries that bring blood to your heart muscle become... Read more

January 4 2011 20110104

Your Options for Treating Rotator Cuff Tears

It's a fact of life: as we get older, we're more likely to get hurt when we exercise or take on certain everyday tasks. Routine activities like playing tennis or placing items on shelves can result in a common problem—the rotator cuff injury.Tears in the rotator cuff are not a huge health setback. But they can limit movement and cause serious pain. There are several ways to treat rotator cuff tears, including surgery and non-surgical treatments. You'll want to understand your... Read more