1. Health

Medical Treatments & Decision Making for Empowered Patients

Once you have been accurately diagnosed, you will need to consider, and discuss, a menu of treatment options with your doctor. How can you learn about them all? What are the best resources? How will you make the right decisions?
  1. A Patient's Right to Die: Issues, the Law and Resources (8)
  2. Alternative / Complementary (7)
  3. Clinical Trials / Evidence (10)
  4. Decision Making 101 (19)
  5. End of Life Decisions (14)
  6. Medical Records / Privacy

Finding Dr. Right
Choosing the right doctor can be the first major step toward finding the right answers about your diagnosis, then the right treatment options. These guidelines will help you find Dr. Right, and communicate with him or her most effectively.

Your Role as a Partner on Your Healthcare Team
Empowered patients understand that their participation on their own healthcare team, in collaboration with others, is a vital aspect of finding their best medical outcomes.

The Four Goals of Medical Treatment -- Managing Your Own Expectations
Once we've been diagnosed, we need to decide what treatment is best for us. There are four goals for medical treatment. Deciding what the goal is helps us manage our expectations and determine which goal will work for us.

Types of Pain and How Pain Is Measured
There are several types of pain and many ways to measure it, although in many ways the measurement of pain is still subjective and difficult to determine.

Medical Treatment Decision Making : Taking Responsibility
Empowered patients know that it is their responsibility to make their own treatment decisions, referring to their doctors, but understanding outside influences.

Shared Decision Making - A Process for Making Important Medical Decisions
When it comes time to make a difficult medical decision, the process called Shared Decision Making allows you to weigh your treatment options against your goals, values and priorities. Learn more about how the Shraed Decision Making process can help you.

How the Process of Shared Medical Decision Making Works
Once you understand how the process of Shared Medical Decision Making Works, you will better understand how it can help you make difficult medical decisions, and be confident they are the right decision for you.

When Do You Need a Second Opinion?
When you have a difficult diagnosis, or if the treatment options presented to you are invasive or long-lasting, you need to get a second opinion.

Understanding Informed Consent
Informed consent is a concept that requires patients to understand the risks and benefits of any test, procedure or treatment a doctor recommends and a patient agrees to. Empowered patients need to understand just what they are agreeing to.

What Is Overtreatment? When Does a Patient Get Too Much Treatment?
When it comes to getting medical treatment, we patients should seek exactly what we need - no more and no less. But what is medical overtreatment? How can we know when we're being treated too much?

Why Are Patients Overtested or Overtreated?
There are many reasons patients are overtreated and overtested, some of them due to their doctors and other providers, and some because of patient encouragement. Learn more about the reasons for overtesting and overtreatment.

How Patients Can Protect Themselves from Overtreatment and Overtesting
As patients, we want Goldilocks testing or treatment - not too much, not too little - we want what's just right. Here are some ways to be sure you aren't being overtested or overtreated - that you get exactly what you need.

The Role Religion, Spirituality and Faith Play in Your Medical Care
When we get sick, many of us turn to our faith, spirituality or religion for comfort and healing. From saying prayers to talking to our spiritual leaders to attending services - we use our faith in a variety of ways in hopes our health, or a loved one's health will improve, that treatments will work or symptoms and pain will disappear. How do......See submissions

Proactive Survivorship - The Sixth Stage of Grief, a Catharsis for Anger
Elizabeth Kubler Ross wrote about five stages of grief which are the steps most people take to get past a difficult or tragic occurrence in their lives. But some people go on to do amazing works with their grief - they use their anger as a catharsis to survive their tragedy in very positive ways. Read about proactive survivors, specifically in relation to healthcare difficulties.

Alternative, Complementary and Integrative Medicine and Therapies
Alternative, complementary and integrative medicine are approaches to medicine, some of which have existed for thousands of years. You'll recognize names like herbals, acupuncture, meditation and Eastern medicine. A smart patient understands what these therapies are and how they can, or can't help improve her health.

What Patients Need to Know About Evidence-Based Medicine
Doctors often recommend their patients make treatment choices based on evidence-based medicine. Before we make those choices, it's best to understand what evidence-based medicine is, how it can help us, or why it might not.

Learn the Basics of Clinical Trials
Understand the basics of clinical trials, including the reasons clinical trials are conducted, the types of trials, the phases of trials, and the protocols.

Finding Credible and Reliable Internet Health Information
Anyone can publish anything they want to on the Internet, no matter how true or phony it is. A wise patient uses these guidelines to determine which health information is truly credible, reliable and objective, and which is not.

Internet Health and Medical Resources
Once you have reviewed the guidelines for making sure the information you find online is credible, reliable and objective, use the following links and descriptions to find exactly the information that can help you partner with your doctor, take responsibility for your healthcare decisions, and find your best medical outcomes.

What is Healthcare Rationing? It May Cause You to Be Denied Care
When we are denied the medical care we want or think we need, having a knowledge of the concept of healthcare rationing will go a long way toward helping us how to combat it. Understanding healthcare rationing will also help us understand conversations in the coming years about healthcare reform.

Compliance: Following Through on Treatment Decisions
Once you and your doctor have decided which treatment will work best for you, it's up to you to follow through, complying with those decisions.

Are Patients in Danger from Too Much Radiation?
Radiation is used for many medical applications, but recent studies have revealed that too much exposure to radiation can become dangerous for patients. You'll want to know if you are at risk for being exposed to too much radiation danger.

Coping With Grief - From Difficult Diagnoses to Medical Errors and Mistakes
Life brings tragedies, whether they come from a terminal diagnosis, to a diagnosis of a chronic disease, to dealing with loss or long-term harm resulting from a medical error or mistake or any other cause. There are some steps and stages we can identify and use, defined by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, to help us transition through the grief those...

End of Life Decision-making: The Ultimate in Patient Empowerment
Patients have the right, and some say an obligation, to make their wishes known regarding end of life care. Advanced directives including living wills, health care proxies and do-not-resuscitate orders are reviewed.

Tools for the Savvy Patient
From choosing the right doctor, to learning about treatment options, to being a proactive healthcare decision maker, to complying with treatment decisions, a savvy patient needs a number of tools to help navigate the system.

Profiles of OPTN and UNOS - Organ Donation Organizations in the United States
The OPTN and UNOS - two organizations in the United States that oversee organ donation and transplants, who receives them, and how priorities are determined.

Learn About the Use of Service Assistance Dogs
Many patients who need assistance with every day tasks from crossing the street safely, to keeping their balance, find the assistance of a service dog, or guide dog, to be invaluable. But there are laws and rules that must be followed by both the patient, and anyone who encounters a service dog.

Using Therapy Dogs to Improve Mental and Physical Health
Unlike service dogs, therapy dogs are available to improve ones' mood or emotional well-being. Therapy dogs can provide big benefits to patients, and are not included in the law established by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

What Are Compassionate Use Exemptions and How Do They Work?
Let's examine the issues involved in Compassionate Use Exemptions - what they are and why drug, biologic and why device manufacturers might not be willing to grant them. Understanding them can help you make better decisions about how to go about gaining one of these exemptions.

Steve Jobs, His Transplant, and Whose Business Is It Anyway?
When Steve Jobs needed a new liver, he had the money and wherewithall to find one, even though he relocated temporarily to do so. Did he jump the line for an available organ? Is this something we are entitled to have an opinion about?

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