Healthcare Articles

Should you have an annual pelvic exam?

Expert groups disagree over the value of an annual pelvic exam for healthy women without symptoms of pelvic diseases. Women should discuss the potential risks and benefits as well as their personal preferences with their doctors. (Locked) More »

Stay healthy at the hospital

: Whether people go in for surgery, testing, or an outpatient procedure, a hospital stay can pose further health risks. While potential risks depend in part on why someone has to go into the hospital and the facility itself, there are steps a person can take to minimize risk, especially when it comes to developing hospital-acquired infections that can lead to a longer hospital stay or readmission. (Locked) More »

Easier access to hearing aids

The FDA announced in December 2016 that it would no longer enforce the requirement that adults receive a medical evaluation or sign a waiver prior to purchasing most hearing aids. More »

Online hospital ratings: Are they helpful?

Online hospital reviews can provide helpful information. But the information they provide is sometimes incomplete, conflicting, or confusing. People should review several different online sites and recognize that there is no clear definition of what constitutes ideal hospital care. Hospital rating sites may be most useful in unusual situations in which people are unfamiliar with the available options—for example, if they have recently moved, are traveling, or are advising a loved one from afar. Otherwise, a recommendation from a trusted physician should suffice.  (Locked) More »

What clinical trials can do for you

Participating in an observational study or a controlled clinical trial may involve a time commitment and some risks. However, doing so may provide health benefit and contribute to medical knowledge.  (Locked) More »

How to trim your medication costs

People may be able to save on prescription costs by choosing generic drugs or in some cases, splitting pills. They can also find out if they could substitute a less expensive brand-name drug in the same medication family. Consumers should also review all their medications with their physician to make sure they aren’t taking any unneeded drugs. Finally, they should compare prices at different pharmacies, as retail drug prices vary a lot from store to store.  (Locked) More »

Planning ahead for your future medical care

Although heart disease is the most common cause of death, improved therapies have greatly extended the lives of people who then may develop heart failure. And many people with heart failure survive into old age and end up dying of something else—an example of the uncertainty all people live with. People who want to ensure they receive the type of end-of-life care they would like should choose a health care proxy—a person who can speak on their behalf if they cannot. A health decision worksheet, which asks questions about values and wishes about end-of-life care, can help facilitate the conversation.  More »

Virtual doctor visits: A new kind of house call

Videoconferencing applications that download to a smartphone, tablet, or home computer enable people to experience a virtual visit with a physician at any time, day or night. The visits are convenient and affordable, costing about $40 or $50 per visit, which is about half the cost of an in-person visit. Many insurance companies now cover the costs. But virtual visits aren’t meant to replace every trip to the doctor’s office. They’re considered effective for conditions such as cold and flu. For older adults, it may be best to see a doctor in person. (Locked) More »

Is it always important to get a second medical opinion?

Men should always seek out a second medical opinion anytime they are given a diagnosis of serious illness or a recommendation for surgery. Also, when seeking a second opinion, it is best to visit a different medical center to get a truly independent diagnosis, and to bring along a family member or friend to accurately record the new information. (Locked) More »

The cost of generic and name-brand drugs

There are many generic versions of brand-name drugs available that sell for, on average, just 15% to 20% of the brand-name price. Research has shown these drugs are just as effective as their name-brand counterparts, but patients need to make sure to ask their doctor for generic choices, as it is not guaranteed he or she will suggest alternatives or even be aware of them.  (Locked) More »