Tag Archives: engaged patients

Patient engagement? How about doctor engagement?

9 Apr

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

It’s a stressful time to be a patient these days, what with expectations running high that we should be both empowered and engaged while self-tracking every trackable health indicator possible – and of course retaining an all-important positive mental attitude – in order to change health care forever. 

Whew. I had to go have a wee lie-down just thinking about how big that responsibility may seem on days when we patients are feeling, yes, sick –  as an annoyingly significant number of patients living with a chronic and progressive illness tend to feel on any given day. That’s why we’re called “patients”.   Continue reading

Why the Harvard Business Review was wrong about patients

27 Jan

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters

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Maybe it’s because I’m not a physician, a nurse or any other type of health care provider. Maybe it’s because I’m merely a dull-witted heart attack survivor. Maybe it’s because I spent virtually all of my 30+ year professional career in the field of public relations. But the reality is that I seem to think about health care more like a marketer than the average person might, and as such, I’ve been puzzled for some time about recent quality of care debates on whether patients should be considered “consumers” or not.

In one debate camp, you have doctors like Dr. Atul Gawande, whose Big Med article in The New Yorker caused apoplectic sputtering among some of his colleagues when it was published last August.  That’s because Dr. Gawande touted a national restaurant chain as a potential model of the kind of standardization and quality that have been so lacking in health care.   Continue reading

My lowly beginnings as an empowered patient

16 Sep

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

I still remember the day when it all began. I was very sick (don’t remember exactly what the sickness was, because I was only about five years old at the time). But I was sick enough for my mother to call our family physician, Dr. Zaritsky, who came right over to the house to see me.  (Yes, that is how old I am. I actually do remember when family docs made house calls).

Dr. Zaritsky declared that I needed an injection to treat whatever was ailing me, but – horrors! – the injection was to be done by pulling down my pajama bottoms and jabbing me right in the bare bum.

I was outraged!   Continue reading

Why you’ll listen to me – but not to your doctor

13 Apr

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters

As I like to remind my women’s heart health presentation audiences, I am not a physician. I’m not a nurse. I am merely a dull-witted heart attack survivor. I also warn them that a lot of what I’m about to say to them is already available out there, likely printed on some wrinkled-up Heart and Stroke Foundation brochure stuffed into the magazine rack at their doctor’s office.

So when the organizer of an upcoming WomenHeart community talk that I do twice a year called me recently to say that registration for this presentation is already full with a waiting list – and that’s with weeks still to go yet! – my interest was piqued.

As any experienced public speaker can appreciate, you’re only as good as the audience thinks you are. When a repeat event like mine fills up quickly thanks almost entirely to word-of-mouth buzz, this tells me that women attending this talk must be pretty darned motivated to learn more about how they can improve their heart health.

But meanwhile, many doctors I know lament the fact that it’s tough for them to motivate their patients to even think about lifestyle improvements to modify known heart disease risks.  Continue reading

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