Health care

Should you ever not listen to your doctor?

Steve Calechman


When you visit your primary care doctor, you should feel that the advice and recommendations you receive are specific to your personal circumstances. If you think your doctor is not paying enough attention to you as an individual, your doctor-patient relationship may need a checkup.

The Couric-Jolie effect: When celebrities share their medical experiences

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

When a prominent person uses their notoriety to raise awareness of a health condition, it can encourage others to seek testing or treatment, but it’s important to be sure that any medical test or procedure is necessary for a particular person.

Healthcare freebies that can make you, and your wallet, feel a little better

From prescription drugs to prepared meals, there are many health-enhancing services that may be available at no cost, depending on where you live and whether you meet certain requirements.

Insurance plan networks: 5 things you need to know

Understanding all the details of your health insurance plan’s coverage can help prevent unexpected charges for out-of-network visits, particularly when away from your local coverage area.

The cost of chronic pain

Laura Kiesel


Even with comprehensive insurance, people with chronic conditions must shoulder the costs of many treatment-related expenses that are not covered because they are considered complementary or alternative therapies.

Chronic illness is a part-time job. It shouldn’t be

Laura Kiesel


As currently structured, the American health care system makes it very difficult for those with chronic illnesses to manage their conditions, causing them to perform the equivalent of unpaid labor.

Physicians and opioids: Part of the solution, but challenges ahead

James S. Gessner, MD

President Massachusetts Medical Society, Guest Contributor

As doctors acknowledge the role that they have played in the current opioid crisis, they, along with hospitals, medical schools, and other members of the medical community have worked to address the issue on several fronts, including instituting prescribing guidelines and offering continuing education to prescribers.

Our planet, ourselves: Climate change and health

Peter Grinspoon, MD

Contributing Editor

Climate change is not merely relevant to human healthcare issue, but in fact, directly affects them. Air pollution, drought, famine and flood are just a few things caused by climate change that have an immediate impact on the health of people all over the world. Though it is an incredibly broad and global issue, individual efforts to reduce personal carbon footprints are important.

How good is my doctor? Awards, acronyms, and anecdotes…Oh my

It’s already hard enough to pick the right doctor for yourself without all these awards and designations to pull apart. Which ones actually mean something and which ones don’t? These awards and the acronyms following a doctor’s name might be easier to interpret than you think. Just make sure not to judge a book by its cover – or a doctor by his or her labels.

Making health social: Friends and family as part of the health care team

Healthy choices can be hard to make, but it becomes much easier when your entire social circle helps you keep up with it. According to a recent study, engaging your friends and family in your lifestyle changes will hold you accountable, and you will be more likely to stick with those changes. Making them a regular part of your “health care team” could go a long way to maintaining your health.