5 Facts About the Novel Coronavirus You Want to Know

by Erica Mitchell | January 31 2020

Reports of the spread of the novel coronavirus from China show a continued spread of the illness. The many news articles available cover the story as it unfolds, but there might be some basics that remain unanswered. In today's post, we'll answer five questions that will give you needed context to understand the virus and its spread.

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The Empowered Patient, Part 5: Rally Your Support System

by Erica Mitchell | January 29 2020

Empowered_Patient-01Today wraps up our series on becoming an empowered patient or patient advocate. We hope 2020 brings you all nothing but health and happiness, but should you face a medical challenge, I hope these suggestions help you or your loved one walk a smoother path to healing.

Step 5: Rally Your Support System!

You don't have to go through being a patient by yourself. Share your experiences with family, close friends, and trusted advisers. There are many ways to bring folks together to help you, including social media, websites, phone trees, and even email lists. One of your friends or family members may step forward to undertake the responsibility of keeping everyone updated, or you may choose your own way to do so. Whatever you choose, do not hesitate to ask for help.

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Coronavirus Outbreak: What Global and Hospital Outbreaks Have In Common

by Erica Mitchell | January 23 2020

News about a new coronavirus in Asia has hit the headlines this week, with numbers quickly climbing and efforts at containment escalating. As the general public learns of the steps taking by health organizations and governments to prevent transmission and treat affected patients, it is a good time to point out that these steps are the same taken by community hospitals in their efforts to control infections. While on a much smaller scale, these steps in infection control and prevention mirror the global approach and come down to 5 basic steps.

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The Empowered Patient, Step 4: Record Keeping

by Erica Mitchell | January 22 2020


This week's topic has suggestions for how to keep track of all the information you are collecting. Whether you like paper-based or digital information storage, keep these ideas in mind to help reign in the sometimes overwhelming amount of data.

Step 4: Record-Keeping!

One of the most important things you can do as a patient or patient advocate is to keep notes. Write down symptoms, questions, and any information you may want to share with your caregiver. It is easy to think in the moment that you will remember what is said and remember what you want to ask and even remember all the information about your recent symptoms so you can answer the doctor’s questions.The truth is, however, that the visits and the concern are more stressful than we may know and it is very difficult to remember all that you need to remember.  Here are some helpful tips to get you started.

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Veteran's Hospitals Get New Rating System

by Erica Mitchell | January 16 2020

The VA's 5 Star ratings system was phased out this past December to make way for a new approach. The new ratings and comparison system intends to make it easier for prospective patients to compare VA facilities with other healthcare facilities in their area, something that was difficult with the previous system. Today's post will look at the new VA Hospital Compare.

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The Empowered Patient, Step 3: Action

by Erica Mitchell | January 15 2020

Our series continues with a step that helps you take action as you become a more empowered patient. While health insurance and other factors set certain limits on your choices, the more you know about your healthcare options in advance, the better. 

Step 3: Action!

In many cases, you decide what doctor you go to, what hospital you check into, and even what treatment you receive. There are few things you can do to help you make better choices.

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The Empowered Patient, Step 2: Research

by Erica Mitchell | January 9 2020


This week we continue our series on our New Year's resolution: Becoming a more empowered patient! This step provides some guidelines to help make the most of our information-gathering.

Step 2: Research!

One of the first things any of us do when we encounter illness is to Google it. A study showed that one in three  (35%) American adults have used the Internet to "diagnose" a medical condition. Even our doctors warn us not to research "too much." It's not that they don't want us to be informed; it's just that the Internet is full of every kind of information, from baseless opinion to peer-reviewed data alongside an entire spectrum of possible diagnoses, prognosis, and symptoms. We have to be careful about our research and approach it more strategically..

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The Empowered Patient, Step 1: Prepare To Be Powerful

by Erica Mitchell | January 2 2020


Happy New Year!  Among our list of new year's resolutions, this one is going on top: Becoming more empowered patients. In today's healthcare settings, the patient can and should play a critical role in healing, if she or he is informed, assertive, and supported.

At no other time in history has the patient had access to the amount of information about illness, had the legal and societal (and financial) rights to determine healthcare choices, and access to widespread availability of cutting edge technology and expert care. This January you will find the steps you can take to become more empowered, either as a patient yourself, or as a patient advocate.

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