Healthcare Articles

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 »

Where to go when you get sick

Do you know where to go when you get sick? If you can't see your own doctor, you might go to a retail clinic, urgent care, or the ER, depending on the situation. Dr. Terry Schraeder explains the difference and where to best seek the help you need. More »

Do financial incentives improve health?

Most large employers now offer financial incentives to employees who make healthy lifestyle changes. There is some evidence that incentives work better when offered to groups of people all challenged to adopt healthy lifestyle habits, rather than on an individual basis. (Locked) More »