Patient Empowerment: Most Popular Articles
You may find a pill on the floor and not know what it is, or you may want to double check the tablets or capsules your pharmacist just gave you for your new prescription. Learn how to identify pills, tablets or capsules.
Look up CPT codes for free to get answers about what codes relate to what medical procedures and services, and how much your doctor and hospital may have been paid for those services.
CPT codes are developed by the American Medical Association and are used by doctors and other healthcare practitioners to describe, and bill for, medical, surgical and diagnostic procedures used on patients.
Savvy patients know that their medical records can help them make decisions about their healthcare. Federal and state laws spell out who may obtain which medical records, who must share them, how much it will cost to gain access to them, and the procedures for doing so. Here are the steps to take to get copies of your medical records.
With Canada in such close proximity to the United States, many Americans wish to save money on the purchase of their drugs by buying them from Canada. But is it legal and safe? Here is what Americans need to know about buying drugs from Canadian pharmacies.
Sometimes we hear medical professionals or our insurers talk about levels of care. Levels of care include primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary care.
ICD-9 or ICD-10 Codes, International Classification of Disease Codes, assign a number to any diagnosis assigned to a patient. There are a handful of uses for them, including an effect on the cost of care.
We're tempted to purchase drugs through the Internet, but we're not always sure about how the law regards those purchases. Is it legal to buy drugs on the Internet? Do you need a prescription? Here's the information you'll need to determine whether it's legal to purchase prescription drugs online.
Even though the majority of shingles patients experience the rash and burning, there are other symptoms, too. From backaches to blindness, there can be symptoms that aren't reported in many places, but are important for patients to learn about. Here is one shingles experience, and an invitation to share your experience, too.
Patients can use medical codes to learn more about their diagnosis, learn more about the services their practitioners have provided, or even to double check their billing from either their providers or their insurance or payer.
While it's easy to find plenty of information about doctors online, not all if it is the information we really need. Checking on a doctor's medical malpractice track record may produce the background information we need, or it may just muddy the doctor research waters.
Each health insurance or payer maintains a list of prescription drugs it will pay for called its formulary. Learn what a formulary is, how its tier structure works, and how to use it to save money on the price of your prescription drugs.
HCPCS codes, which stands for Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System, are Medicare codes used by doctors and other healthcare practitioners to describe and bill medical, surgical and diagnostic procedures used on patients. Here is more background on HCPCS codes.
A diagnosis of shingles seems confusing to most patients. How does it relate to chicken pox? Can it be treated? Or prevented? Learn more about shingles and the shingles vaccine.
Sometimes doctors close their practices, or they retire or sell their practices, or even die, leaving their practice in new hands. If your doctor is no longer in practice, here is how to find, then get copies of your health or medical records.
For many reasons, patients may need, or wish to, make a change in their doctor or other health care providers. It's smart to make the change systematically so you won't create a problem.
CPT Codes, Current Procedural Terminology Codes, are found throughout a patient's medical records. They relate to billing, and tracking them is a good way to track the cost of our care. Here's how and where to find CPT codes.
Buying prescription drugs online - or any drugs online - can be easy, convenient and money-saving. Or it can be a nightmare, robbing you of your money and/or your health. Learn how to purchase your prescription drugs safely and legally from an online pharmacy.
There are two aspects to choosing the right doctor. One aspect is to find one you can partner with, one who fits your communication style. But a good communicator doesn't always have a successful track record. Learn how to research a doctor's credentials to be sure he or she has the competency to help you.
MRSA, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, is an extremely difficult to treat infection that kills thousands of patients every year. Smart patients will learn what they can about MRSA, what MRSA looks like, and why the best approach is prevention.
Sometimes the best drug pricing can be found in other countries, including Canadian pharmacies, Mexican pharmacies, even online drug stores in other countries. But Americans must tackle these challenges - is it legal and safe to purchase drugs from foreign pharmacies?
One form of hospital acquired infection is called C. Diff, an abbreviation for Clostridium difficile. Understanding C. Diff and how it is introduced to the body will help patients, caregivers and advocates better understand how to prevent or avoid this hospital acquired infection.
Doctors ratings websites and directory websites are supposed to help us understand the quality of a doctor's skills and credentials. Very few of them are of high enough quality themselves to do their jobs. This article reviews many of the ratings and rankings sites, so patients can discover which ones are worth the time and effort.
Check this master list of stores that offer free or low cost antibiotics, pre-natal vitamins, some diabetes drugs and hundreds of other generic drugs.
MRSA, C.Diff, CRE (CRKP) and other superbug infections are acquired in hospitals and now in the community, too. Patients need to be aware of their origins and how to avoid them.
ICD codes are used to classify diagnoses and causes of death, too. Here is some background information about ICD-9 and ICD-10 codes to help you understand what they are, the differences between them, implementation, and how they can affect your care.
Not all medical test results are problematic, yet sometimes doctors expect us to return to the office to get them. It seems like a waste of our time and effort, so why does your doctor make you return to the office to get your medical test results?
Sometimes a doctor or other healthcare provider does something so egregious that we patients feel as if we need to tell someone else about it. Sometimes it's a matter of discussing it with the doctor him or herself. But other times it needs to escalate to a formal report to a licensing or even law enforcement authority. Find here advice for determining when, where and how to make a report about a doctor who has been derelict in his duty. Page 5.
Here are some of the behaviors doctors look for to determine whether a request for pain medication is based on real medical need, or made by a drug seeker.
Most patients in the United States think their medical records are private, to be shared only with one's family or providers. However, there are many more individuals and organizations who can get a hold of our medical records - legally, illegally or even by mistake. Here is a list of those people and organizations who have access to our medical records.
When you request copies of your medical records, you may be charged for them. Learn how how much it costs to obtain copies of your medical records.
Patients are told that a board certified doctor is a good choice for a practitioner. Taking the time to verify a doctor's board certification and membership is worth the effort and will help ensure that the doctor meets at least a minimum competency for handling your healthcare.
From simple typos to major mistakes in the recording of medical test results or symptoms, errors are commonly found in patients' medical records. Smart patients know how important it is to make corrections to their records, and the procedure for making those corrections.
Buying prescription drugs from an online pharmacy seems convenient and may save money, but how can you be sure it's safe? Understanding the potential problems with purchasing drugs on the Internet will help you decide which online pharmacies are safe to make purchases from.
Make sure emergency medical personnel have the information about your medical condition they need if you are hurt or injured.
From the FTC's Red Flags Rule to collecting debts, doctors, hospitals and other healthcare entities have begun requesting patients supply their social security numbers. Why does your doctor ask you for your social security number? Here are some of the reasons.
Good and effective medical care begins by choosing the right doctor for your needs. These tips will help you choose your Dr. Right.
When we experience unusual symptoms, we are curious about their causes. Even before we see our doctor or have a medical test, we want to know the answers about what could be causing those symptoms. Symptom checker applications are available on many health websites, but how accurate can they be?
Whether or not you have insurance and prescription coverage, comparing drug prices online makes sense if your goal is to save money.
Hospital visits can be dangerous for patients, and one safety hazard is the patient's visitors. Keep in mind these do's and don'ts for visiting your friend or loved one in the hospital to be sure he or she stays safe.
There are many types of patient advocates and many routes to becoming a patients advocate. The education, skills and experience needed vary according to the type of patients advocate one wants to be.
When we are given a new prescription drug, or if we decide to take an over-the-counter drug, we need to be aware that the new drug might conflict with another drug, an herbal supplement or even a food or beverage. Here are some things to know about avoiding drug conflicts and interactions.
You feel lousy and want to stay home. But your big presentation is today, or you need the paycheck. Or one of your kids is sick, and you can't decide whether you should keep her home. Plus, maybe you feel guilty - like you should stay home with her. Should you go to work anyway, or is it time to call in sick?
Patients need to be on guard against prescription errors at the doctor's office, then later when they get their drugs from the pharmacy. Knowing how to double check the prescription against the drug received helps ensure patients get the right prescription.
Follow the money to understand why you wait so long in the waiting room for your doctors appointment
It's puffy, red, itchy - and you aren't sure where that sore came from. Is it MRSA? Or is it a spider bite? Here's how to figure it out.
Many of us can save money when we purchase our prescription drugs even if we don't have insurance. Understanding how prescription drug discounts work and whether we are eligible may reduce our cost for our prescriptions.
There are more and more reports that patients are being dismissed by their doctors. They ask
HCPCS codes are used to reimburse doctors for their care of Medicare patients. You may find HCPCS codes on your medical bills. Use this procedure for your free HCPCS codes look up.
There are dozens of doctor ratings websites that invite you to rate or rank your doctor. But you want to be sure it's a good idea to rate your doctor and if so, that you do so fairly and accurately. Here are some considerations and tools for rating your doctor.
Each state in the United States has its own laws and policies regarding many aspects of the health and medical care we receive, such as patients' rights, provider licensing, hospitals, medical records, insurers and payment programs. These aspects of our care are governed through state departments and agencies.
Those who are against death with dignity and the right of human beings to determine when their own death will be cite a number of reasons to support their argument. Find those arguments here.
Whether it's getting a flu shot, attending physical therapy, or going through chemotherapy or radiation treatment, many patients are afraid of treatment, or the cost of treatment. But do patients have the right to refuse medical treatment?
If a patient wants to leave the hospital early, against medical advice, then it's important the decision is being made for good reason, and that he or she knows what to expect from the process.
what is a health insurance coinsurance?
One form of medical misdiagnosis is called Failure to Diagnose. It occurs when a patient can't get an accurate diagnosis, also called a missed diagnosis. Knowing the reasons why a diagnose eludes a doctor, and what the outcomes might be, will help you get closer to your own diagnosis.
What is the difference between a pandemic and an epidemic?
When patients exhibit symptoms of problems with their autonomic nervous system, they may be difficult to diagnose, and may be told the symptoms are
CPT and HCPCS codes have been developed so doctors can be reimbursed for their time spent on the telephone or exchanging email with patients. Learn more about these codes and what to do if you find them on your bill or your estimate of benefits.
Patients are told to find a doctor who is board certified. Learn why it is important for physicians to be board certified in medical specialties and what the competencies are to make them eligible to be board certified.
Patients may think their privacy is protected by the Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act (HIPAA) or they may think HIPAA just gets in the way of their care. There are any number of assumptions patients make about HIPAA that just aren't true.
MRSA, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, is an infection usually acquired in the hospital,
Smart patients understand the importance of hearing back from the doctor about any medical tests, no matter what the medical test results. Here's now to get those results even when your provider doesn't provide them in a timely fashion.
It's easy to get confused about nurses because they seem to serve a variety of roles. Smart patients understand which nurses perform which functions, and when to seek help from nurses vs nurse practitioners.
More and more we are finding holes in our health insurance coverage, and are told that the doctor we want to see or the hospital we want to be treated in is not covered by our health insurer. When services are not covered, they are considered out of network. Bills are higher and claims are rejected. Learn more about out-of-network costs and how to prevent them.
Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) are great ways to save money as long as you use the money you save for what the IRS calls
How can moving patient records to a computerized format help improve a patient's health? There are a number of ways electronic health record systems benefit patients.
What is a compromised immune system?
If you are interested in education or training to become a health or patient advocate or navigator, there are a handful of degree and certificate programs available. They are listed here and updated as more information becomes available.
Early MRSA can appear as a large red patch with a pustule, or without
CPT codes are found on almost every medical record kept about and for a patient. There is plenty patients can learn from CPT codes.
There are several reasons stores and pharmacies might offer free or low cost drugs like antibiotics or pre-natal vitamins. If you understand these reasons, and follow the rules, then you'll find that obtaining your drugs for free or at low-cost can be a great way to save money on drugs.
So many available prescription drugs have so many similar sounding names, it's easy to understand why dispensing mistakes can be made. Confirming your prescription with your doctor is a smart move for any empowered patient.
Receiving a wrong diagnosis can be devastating. Learn how the About.com Guide to Patient Empowerment found out she received a wrong diagnosis and how this misdiagnosis taught her about the importance of taking an active role in one's health care.
There are dozens of physician or doctor online directories, but few of them have the information you seek. Learn how WE rated THEM.
Patient-consumers are often surprised to learn of the existence of a reporting agency called the Medical Information Bureau (MIB.) Similar to credit reporting agencies, it may have a file on you about previous health insurance and medical problems that you should be aware of.
Definition of curative care. Patient Empowerment.
To prevent drug seekers or abusers from
There are many reasons patients get frustrated with their doctors and their doctor appointments. Once you have decided the relationship with your doctor is worth keeping, you'll need to voice your opinions and make sure you are heard.
So you've decided you want to be a patient advocate, but how can you find a good paying job as a patient advocate?
There are many reasons we may choose to change doctors. Writing a letter to the doctor you are leaving can be cathartic to you. It will help you explain your reasons, is a good way to request your medical records and will help your doctor improve his service to future patients.
Depending on how it's acquired, the early stages of MRSA may look like a spider bite
The definition and use of the word
Whether or not you know you've been bitten by a tick, whether you were bitten recently, or even years ago, you may have a tick-borne infection, and you may have Lyme (Lymes) Disease. It's a difficult diagnosis, and some doctors will tell you it's all in your head. Here is more information about what Lyme Disease is, how people get it, and what to do if it's possible you've been bitten by a tick.
Whether or not a doctor accepts a certain form of insurance is all based how much your insurance company is willing to pay for his services. How does that work? Why do doctors accept some payers and not others? How does this affect a patient's care?
Even though laws are clear on who may or may not gain access to their medical records, and how those records must be shared, some patients are denied access to their medical records. Here are the steps to follow if you have been denied access to your medical records. Page 2.
Sometimes we encounter a doctor who is so arrogant and condescending that we can't get the care we need. Learning to deal with an arrogant or egotistical doctor may be necessary for improving our health.
the definitions and descriptions of sepsis and septicemia
Patients report that their doctors will not see them, refusing to make appointments or rejecting their requests for help. What most patients don't realize is that it is their own behavior that may have caused those rejections. Learn more about the reasons doctors may reject difficult patients.
We hear plenty of complaints about doctors and healthcare, but what complaints do doctors have about their patients? Are they fair? What can we patients learn from knowing what those complaints might be?
There are dozens of physicians ratings and rankings websites available to help patients decide which doctors can help them. But there are some problems with the way the information is interpreted and presented. Wise patients understand the benefits, and the pitfalls of using these sites.
If you are an entrepreneur, enjoy patient advocacy work, and wish to start a business caring for others, starting a patient or other health advocates business may be a good choice. Here are the steps to starting a successful patient advocate's business.
Thousands of patients go undiagnosed each year. They get frustrated because no one can seem to solve the mystery of their illness. Here are some steps to take to try to arrive at a solution for your undiagnosed medical disease or condition.
We hear the terms. Patient Empowerment.
Some of the resources you'll need to use to research your doctor, insurance, or hospital, or the laws that pertain to insurance, medical records or advance directives, will vary by state. Here is a list of resources that can help you answer questions for the state you live in.
When you leave the doctor's office, you are given a receipt for the medical services performed during your visit. Understanding the information on that receipt will help you learn about your visit, and keep track of medical expenses, too. Page 3.
Now that we better understand why questions might exist to begin with, we can better understand the positive reasons - the pros for genetic testing.
Staph infections, like MRSA, can enter the body through an incision or cut. This incision is in the later
The process of differential diagnosis helps patients understand the evidence used to determine their diagnosis, helps them learn about alternatives, and helps them confirm that their diagnosis was made correctly.
definition of the words acute and subacute
A concierge practice, also known as boutique medicine, is a practice model used by doctors who do not accept a patient's insurance for payment. Is this a good model for patient care?
Those who are in favor of death with dignity and the right of human beings to determine when their own death will be make many arguments in favor of that right. Find those arguments here.
When it comes time to choose an insurance plan, those lower premiums that go with high deductibles are tempting. How can we know whether a high deductible or catastrophic health insurance plan is the right choice for saving money?
Many patients who have trouble getting diagnosed eventually believe they may have Chronic Lyme Disease. Here is information about the controversy over a Chronic Lyme Disease diagnosis and how patients can get around the controversy to get the treatment they wish to get.
Health Savings Accounts and Flexible Spending Accounts are different ways to pay for health and medical related expenses that have tax benefits. Because they have confusing rules, we may be reluctant to use them. Here is a comparison of the commonalities, differences and benefits between HSAs and FSAs.
There are a number of reasons a patient may decide to change doctors. Sometimes it's a necessity, and others it's a choice. Learn about good reasons for making changes and the first steps toward a smooth transition.
It's easy to be confused about Medicare plans. Here are the differences among those different types of Medicare plans.
The definition of triage, how medical triage works, the role of EMTs and nurses in triage.
Since most of us don't pay our medical providers directly, it's wise to compare our insurance or payer's Explanation of Benefits (EOB) to our doctor's bills. Page 3.
This child was diagnosed with impetigo, a highly contagious infectious disease that can be caused by
Health and patients advocates provide many types of assistance and patient advocacy services. Here is an overview of health and patient advocacy with advocate resources included.
Understanding the reasons for empowerment, and what it takes to be empowered will go a long way in helping you understand the benefits.
You've been put through a medical test result, and now you've got a copy of the results. They are incomprehensible - why? - because by themselves they mean very little. Is
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.
Patients need many kinds of assistance from medical help, to cost and billing review, to transportation, legal or hospital assistance. Each of these patient advocates services requires a different type of approach and background.
The best approach for avoiding hospital acquired infections is to prevent them to begin with. Patients can play a big role in avoiding infections themselves. Here are some steps to help you prevent hospital acquired infections.
We hear the term. Patient Empowerment.
Hospice and palliative care are not the same thing. Understanding the difference between them will help you make choices when you or a loved one is suffering, or is nearing the end of life.
VRE, Vancomycin-resistant Enterococci or Enterococcus infection is another of the hospital acquired infections that can turn deadly. Smart patients, caregivers and advocates understand the origin of VRE infections so they can take precautions to avoid them.
In discussions of healthcare reform, we often hear the term
All patients, regardless of their means or health, should expect to be treated respectfully, without discrimination by their providers and practitioners.
With the skyrocketing costs of healthcare, use of generic drugs can save you money. But there are some differences between generics and their
When patients are in pain, they hope their doctors will prescribe drugs to help relieve the pain. But sometimes they run into roadblocks from their doctors, and are turned away, or put on tight prescribing schedules. Learn why doctors are reluctant to prescribe pain drugs for some patients.
When a patient has a difficult time getting a diagnosis, or thinks he may have been misdiagnosed, it could be because he is working with the wrong kind of specialist.
When someone is sick or hurt, there are many well-meaning people who want information about them. But visitors can become intrusive, and making dozens of phone calls can become time-consuming. Patient websites are a good solution for making sure the needs of patients, and those who care about them, are met. Read how to set up a patient website, and some do's and don'ts for making sure they are useful, but don't violate the patient's privacy.
Many patients get frustrated because they would like to make a quick phone call or send an email to their doctors - but their doctors won't call them back, or reply to an email. Learn why it's so difficult to find a physician who will communicate with their patients using the telephone or email.
If you are in pain, you are looking for relief, but don't want to go so far as to be dependent or addicted to any drugs that are prescribed for you. Here is some information about pain, its relief, and how to prevent the possibility of becoming addicted or dependent on pain relieving drugs.
Patients report they have tried to see a doctor but they are denied medical care by any doctor. They report that they have been blacklisted, blackballed or that entries have been made to their records indicating they should not be seen or treated.
A closer look at MRSA. This photo shows what MRSA, methicillin-resistant methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus
What is the definition of iatrogenic?
Most Americans believe they have a right to refuse medical treatment. While that may be true under many circumstances, not all Americans can say no to treatment. Learn the difference, and who may not refuse to receive medical treatment.
The American healthcare system is dysfunctional. From politicians to patients, we heard cries for healthcare system reform. Learn what issues need to be addressed, and understand the various opinions about what should have been, or should not have been, addressed.
Not all charitable organizations will make good use of your money; in fact, not all organizations that claim to be charitable will actually use your money to do good things. Learn how to determine which charities are responsible and will actually spend their donations they way you hope.
There are dozens of websites to help you find a doctor. Which of the sites is credible or useful? Learn how to do a useful search for a physician online.
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. Page 2.
Bundled medical codes are CPTs that have been combined. Learn more about where you'll find bundled codes, how they are bundled, and how to look them up for free.
Once you have identified possible patient advocates to help you, there is information you will need to make sure the one you choose has the best ability to help you.
The ability of patients with pre-existing conditions to purchase health insurance changed drastically with passage healthcare reform, called ObamaCare - the Affordable Care Act. Learn about new options available to patients with pre-existing conditions.
In recent years, hospitals have begun holding patients in
The most effective and successful healthcare begins with a respectful rapport between doctors and patients. Wise patients understand what comprises that rapport.
HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act provides the basis for the sharing of healthcare information among those with a role on a patient's healthcare team. Empowered patients need an understanding of these laws to help them get the medical assistance they need.
Upcoding is a practice carried out by medical providers that pays them more money than they have earned. It's a fraudulent practice that forces patients to pay for upcoding from their wallets, and with their health. If you understand upcoding, you'll know how to help stop it.
There are few real, legal rights afforded to American patients, but there are some that are unwritten, and there are important responsibilities that help maintain those rights.
Known as the flesh-eating bacteria or flesh-eating disease, necrotizing fasciitis can be deadly unless it is caught and treated quickly. Learn how this bacteria infects patients and what can be done to prevent it during a hospital stay.
When we know it is time to change doctors, sometimes it seems impossible to find a primary care physician. Why is it so difficult and what can we do instead?
As drug prices continue to climb, insurance and prescription payment plans are more costly, too. Here are some tips for saving money on our prescription drug purchases.
The definition and usage examples for the term
Many parts of the human body can be transplanted to other people to help improve or extend life. Making the decision to become an organ or body donor should be considered as we think about our end of life wishes.
This site contains many articles about patient advocacy, hiring a patient advocate and becoming a patients advocate. Find a master list of patient advocacy articles here.
When we have unusual symptoms, the doctor recommends many medical tests to help diagnose. Sometimes we don't understand why there are so many, or why some of those tests are necessary.