Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

[Repost] Parents Want E-Mail Consults With Doctors, but Don’t Want to Pay for Them

From the 21 October 2013 ScienceDaily report

 Most parents would love to get an e-mail response from their kids’ health care provider for a minor illness rather than making an office visit, but about half say that online consultation should be free, according to a new University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health.

The full report is available online at:

Read the entire article here


October 22, 2013 Posted by | health care | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Self-diagnosis on Google, other websites the first line of medical care for more than half of Canadians: poll




Related Resources

Millions of consumers get health information from magazines, TV or the Internet. Some of the information is reliable and up to date; some is not. How can you tell the good from the bad?

First, consider the source. If you use the Web, look for an “about us” page. Check to see who runs the site: Is it a branch of the government, a university, a health organization, a hospital or a business? Focus on quality. Does the site have an editorial board? Is the information reviewed before it is posted? Be skeptical. Things that sound too good to be true often are. You want current, unbiased information based on research.

July 31, 2013 Posted by | health care | , , , , | Leave a comment

Your doctor has sold his practice: 6 tips for patients (tips are also good for doctors not selling their practice!)

Conversation between doctor and patient/consumer.

Conversation between doctor and patient/consumer. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m not sure I’d have the chutzpah to ask about performance requirements or conflicts of interest.
But maybe if I went to an office visit with these types of questions written down, I would be more likely to ask them!

(As an aside, I accompanied my mom to outpatient surgery yesterday. The only way I could assure myself I would
ask the surgeon a few questions while mom was in post-op…was to write them down and have them “on display” in what is now called the “interview room”. The surgeon did take note of the scrawled questions and was ever so patient and answered each one completely.
Granted, these were questions related to how to take care of my mom, not his performance requirements or conflicts of interest.
Still, I think I could build on writing down questions about how to take care of oneself or others to include questions relating the necessity of a medical test or procedure.)

I am not sure about two of the points.
Would anyone in the doctor’s office really be candid about performance requirements? Or even know about them?
The office staff has at least the potential about conflict of interest. They work for the doctor (and by extension any health organization the doctor belongs to which could be the source of a conflict of interest!) Maybe it would be best to ask the doctor directly.

Online databases and forums are most likely not objective. They only record input from folks. And the input is not evaluated for “truth”.
Crowdsourcing at times can point to the truth, but I believe at times crowds can be misinformed (and act on rumors). And I don’t think that online databases/forums can readily distinguish when reports are based on fact or falsehoods.

From the 3 January 2013 article by Cary Present, MD at

When doctors sell their practices to hospitals or networks, the practices are typically restructured. When they restructure, the new arrangement can put the doctor under more pressure to treat you (the patient) more “economically,” so as to generate more income. This can mean ordering tests or prescribing medicines that you may or may not need – things that are more for “let’s just be safe” and would be avoided in a private practice.

What does this all mean for you as a patient? Other than potentially higher medical costs, possible deterioration in treatment, and a lack of personal attention as a person, it boils down simply to a conflict of interest. In other words, there is greater potential for disagreement regarding what is in your best interest according to convention and how the doctor or hospital treats you…


  • First, when your doctor is recommending tests or treatments or hospitalization for you, take the time to ask if you really the treatments – ask if the doctor would do the same for a family member
  • Second, ask for a second opinion to determine if you need the recommended care – this should be your standard reaction when tests are ordered…

Read the entire article here

January 4, 2013 Posted by | health care | , , , | Leave a comment

The Cost of Coercion [Yes, One Can Refuse Medical Procedures and Continue Health Care Insurance Coverage)(via The Health Care Blog)

From The Cost of Coercion (a February 28, 2012 posting at The Health Care Blog)

Dr. John Schumann dispels what seems to be an urban myth – if one refuses a procedure then one is responsible for any hospital charges not covered by one’s health insurance related to the decision to decline the procedure.

The case presented involves a person who did not wish to undergo an invasive (and expensive) medical procedure: cardiac catheterization. The intern told the patient that if she refused to undergo the procedure, “that she would have to sign out ‘against medical advice’ (AMA). To signify this she would have to acknowledge that leaving AMA could result in serious harm or death. In addition, Ms. DiFazio would bear responsibility for any and all hospital charges incurred and not reimbursed by her insurance due to such a decision.”

In the rest of the article, Dr. Schumann explains how he researched this and found quite the opposite – “that the idea of a patient leaving AMA [against medical advice] and having to foot their bill is bunk: nothing more than a medical urban legend.”

March 4, 2012 Posted by | health care | , , , , | Leave a comment


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