Shared decision-making makes better informed patients, and better informed patients use less health care.
…as many as 20% of patients who participate in shared decision making choose less invasive surgical options and more conservative treatment than do patients who do not use decision aids.
Which lowers health care costs.
…a 2012 study…showed that providing decision aids to patients eligible for hip and knee replacements substantially reduced both surgery rates and costs — with up to 38% fewer surgeries and savings of 12 to 21% over 6 months.
[It’s] estimated that implementing shared decision making for just 11 procedures would
… Continue reading
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) just released this consumer education video about supplements and dietary aids:
I’ve written many, many posts on the dangers of trusting supplement manufacturers to tell you the truth about their products. Not to mention buying supplements (aka nutriceuticals or herbal remedies) is often just a waste of money.
Although the video focuses on imported supplements, the same warning can apply to domestically-manufactured products.
The FDA consumer safety webpage on this topic is an … Continue reading
A few years ago vitamin D was being touted as the latest and greatest miracle supplement. Low vitamin D levels were linked to all kinds of conditions—autoimmune diseases, heart disease, chronic pain, osteoporosis, some cancers, and more—so doctors started prescribing high-dose supplements.
Or people just bought vitamin D supplements at the store and dosed themselves. Sometimes way over the recommended upper limit of 4,000 IU/day.
Multiple research studies, however, have found little help from vitamin D supplements in treating or preventing most of these conditions.
Most recently is a well-done study out of Australia, published in last week’s Journal of … Continue reading
One of the driving forces behind rising health care costs is the increasingly high cost of prescription drugs.
And because 60% of Americans take at least one prescription drug, that adds up to a lot of money.
Insurance companies are trying to rein in costs by having tiered copayments (higher for brand names) or limiting the selection of drugs on their formularies (the list of drugs your insurance will cover).
This post gives you some suggestions to save money, and some resources that might be helpful.
But first, ask yourself and your physician if a prescription drug is really … Continue reading
I just learned that my state, Washington, is one of several that is experiencing an outbreak of “super-lice”, or lice that are resistant to the traditional pyrethrum-based treatments (Rid contains pyrethrin; Nix contains permethrin).
Super-lice aside, the common louse has been increasingly resistant to the standard over-the-counter products for many years. Which begs the question: Why are Nix and Rid still the recommended first line of treatment by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)??
Probably because there are few other tested and FDA-approved methods.
So what should parents do? Let’s look at the options.
There are basically three ways … Continue reading
The United States isn’t the only country that is burdened with too much medicine (and subsequent out-of-control health care costs).
I belong to a network of health care professionals around the world who are having a dialogue about overscreening, overdiagnosis, overtreatment, and what to do about it.
A physician from Spain shared this amusing YouTube video, “Así es la Vida” (It’s Just Life):
The subtitles are in English, but I had to translate for myself the words on the “prescription” box of medicine given to each patient:
No little pill can solve the reality … Continue reading
I like playing the brain games of Lumosity online and on my phone.
I like puzzles and words games in general, and Lumosity offers a fun and convenient way to play and keep track of my improvement in a variety of challenges.
I’ve never paid the costly $15 a month subscription, because I’ve never bought into the idea that playing these “brain games”—Lumosity calls it “brain training”—by themselves is enough to prevent dementia as I age.
But many people, apparently, were influenced by Lumosity’s advertising.
Two weeks ago, the creators of Lumosity settled a $50 million lawsuit with the Federal … Continue reading
I don’t know about you, but 2015 has zipped by for me. My big loss, of course, was the death of my father in July. But otherwise it’s been a very healthy year for me (never had to see my doctor!) and while researching for my blog I learned lots of new ways to stay healthy and use our health care system more effectively (or warily).
Here’s a round up of some of my favorite posts and what health tips I’ll take with me into 2016 as I resolve to:
One of the most compelling posts, I think, was … Continue reading
Do you suffer from dry, red, or itchy eyes?
Dry eyes are really common, especially in the late fall and winter when we spend more time in the dry indoor air.
But did you know the eye drops you use might actually be making your eyes look and feel worse?
Like so many over-the-counter (OTC) products, there are dozens of eye drops from which to choose. How do you know which is best? You can save money and get a more helpful product by understanding what you really need from an eye drop.
As always, ignore the marketing claims on … Continue reading
I sit too much. I always have.
By nature, I guess, I am a sedentary person. I’m not fidgety. I can sit for long periods of time reading a book or working at the computer.
I exercise every day, going for a long walk or working in my garden or doing yoga, and I thought that was enough.
But I just watched an episode of the excellent HealthCare Triage series ominously entitled: “Sitting vs. Standing. Is Your Sedentary Life Killing You?”
Wow, I need to move a whole lot more!
We all understand that … Continue reading