The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly About Dr. Google

(Hint: It’s not personal.)

There is no question that the internet has been the most important tool to ever empower patients with knowledge and information to make informed choices about their health and healthcare. Some have even given it a nickname of sorts, “Doctor Google.” It’s the first place many of us go when we want to learn about a health issue, and the information that’s now available to us can help us ask better questions, and have a more meaningful conversation with our doctors. Still, as helpful as information can be, sometimes too much of a good thing (or too much of the wrong thing) can lead us down a rabbit hole. read more

Patient-centered care – you may need a buddy!

Buddies

A friend of mine was undergoing an outpatient surgery a few weeks ago. Once in a gown, and her IV started (not a power position for us as patients, by the way!) her surgeon stopped in before heading to the OR to scrub. Having already talked with the anesthesiologist, my friend also shared her concern with her surgeon that she has had really severe nausea with codeine-based pain relievers after surgery (I mean really awful – I’ve been there!) with me nodding along vigorously and asked for different post-op medication. Her young-ish (to us, anyway!) surgeon was patient and gracious in responding that all narcotic pain relievers cause stomach upset and she would provide an anti-nausea medication to take along with the codeine-based drug she preferred to prescribe. Before my friend could share that that she’d had anti-nausea medication before and it wasn’t particularly effective, the surgeon exited stage left to prep for surgery. read more

Does Insurance Cover That?

insurance

Inevitably when I’m asked what I do and respond that I’m a private patient advocate, one eyebrow raises, followed by “What’s that?”

My “Private Patient Advocate” elevator speech goes something like this:

“Private patient advocates are independent professionals that help patients and their families clarify options for managing their healthcare as well as the cost of their care. This might mean things like sourcing a doctor for a second opinion, facilitating better coordinated care, researching nursing homes, or negotiating insurance claims and medical bills.” read more