Drug Interactions – Check for yourself & before you go to the doctor?

If you have a really good PCP, she or he will monitor all the prescriptions you take as well as any over-the-counter (OTC) vitamins and supplements you use.

But we have all heard about family members and friends who have been affected by adverse drug interactions.

This may occur because: you go to several physicians who each give you prescriptions; a prescription is changed; you buy and use OTC products; and/or you do not read the warnings on the prescription.

REMINDER: Always bring a list of all your prescriptions and OTC products to every doctor’s visit.

Read more

Should you check your symptoms before your doctor’s appointment?

If you are like me, you may occasionally “Google” your medical symptoms. Now apps are available to help you check your symptoms systematically rather than randomly.

Recently, a WSJ article noted “Now more health-care providers are… steering patients to new and improved computerized symptom-checkers that make it easier for them to get reliable information about possible diagnoses, research their condition and even connect directly to a doctor. Doctors are adding these tools to their websites and incorporating them into electronic medical records, encouraging patients to use them before office visits to save time and make consultations more productive. Another benefit: Results turned up by a symptom-checker may actually help doctors think of something they hadn’t considered.”

Read more

Tell your doctor about your travel history

A recent Modern Health Care article noted “The key is getting that travel history right up front when you’re interviewing the patient and then as soon as you suspect MERS—even before you do the testing—you should make sure you have that patient on isolation precautions so they don’t spread to any other patients or healthcare workers.”

“The major lesson from this first MERs experience in the U.S. for other healthcare providers is “to think about MERS you really need to get a good travel history..,”.

Read more

Often “primary care doctors’ appointments to be scheduled at 15-minute intervals”

“Some physicians who work for hospitals say they’ve been asked to see patients every 11 minutes.”

A recent Kaiser Health News article noted “ Patients – and physicians – say they feel the time crunch as never before as doctors rush through appointments as if on roller skates to see more patients and perform more procedures to make up for flat or declining reimbursements.” “

“Doctors have one eye on the patient and one eye on the clock….”

Read more

Be prepared with the questions you want to ask your doctor & make sure you understand the answers before you leave

The federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has published lists of questions you should consider before, during and after an appointment with your doctor.

“You can make sure you get the best possible care by being an active member of your health care team. Being involved means being prepared and asking questions. Asking questions about your diagnoses, treatments, and medicines can improve the quality, safety, and effectiveness of your health care. Taking steps before your medical appointments will help you to make the most of your time with your doctor and health care team.”

Read more

If you go to the ER and stay in the hospital, don’t assume you have been admitted

Not so! You can be in a hospital bed for several days without actually being admitted with personal financial consequences.

Recently a New York Times article “ noted: “ But it turns out that even though you are receiving treatment in a hospital bed, you may simply be under observation, and technically are still an outpatient. That can cost you money if you are covered under Medicare, the federal health plan for older Americans.”

Read more

Narrow networks… keep premiums lower but…..

A recent Associated Press vignette noted: “MIAMI — The first thing Michelle Pool did before picking a plan under President Barack Obama’s health insurance law was check whether her longtime primary care doctor was covered. Pool, a 60-year-old diabetic who has had back surgery and a hip replacement, purchased the plan only to find that the insurer was mistaken.”

“Pool’s $352 a month gold plan through Covered California’s exchange was cheaper than what she’d paid under her husband’s insurance and seemed like a good deal because of her numerous pre-existing conditions. But after her insurance card came in the mail, the Vista, California resident learned her doctor wasn’t taking her new insurance.”

Read more