Healthcare Archive


3 ways to streamline your health care visits

Three strategies can help decrease the number of days one must devote to medical appointments. The first is eliminating unneeded care, such as screening tests for people at low risk for certain conditions. The second strategy is coordinating various doctor visits, tests, or imaging for the same day. The third strategy is using telemedicine in place of appointments that would normally happen in person, such as mental health care visits or routine appointments for diabetes or high blood pressure.

What are the most popular video-based medical visits?

A 2024 study of 277 million patient visits within the Veterans Affairs Health Care System found that video-based telemedicine visits remain close to the peak pandemic level of about 12%, which is a steep increase from the pre-pandemic level.

6 things to do when heading for the hospital

It's important to take certain steps before a hospital stay, if planning is possible. Examples include packing printed copies of one's living will and health care proxy form; alerting one's health care proxy about details of the stay, including what should or shouldn't be done if the proxy needs to make decisions; packing additional clothing in case the stay lasts longer than expected; arranging to have a friend present for hospital discharge instructions; and arranging for a ride home.

Seeking a second opinion: When, why, and how?

A second opinion from a cardiologist may be helpful for people considering whether to undergo a specialized heart procedure. Such consultations may be increasingly appropriate as new, minimally invasive treatments for various heart problems become more widely available and more specialized. Others who might seek a second opinion include people with heart-related symptoms that persist despite treatment, who have been told they have no more options.

For controlling blood pressure, telemedicine may beat clinic visits

Telemedicine visits combined with self-measured blood pressure readings may help control high blood pressure better than traditional clinic visits, according to a 2024 study.

Afraid to visit the doctor?

Medical anxiety is a fear of doctors and medical settings. Nearly half of American adults in 2023 reported feeling anxious before a doctor's appointment, and four in 10 said their anxiety compels them to put off seeing a doctor. Medical anxiety can stop people from seeking preventive care or necessary treatments, jeopardizing their health. People with medical anxiety may be fearful of needles or shots, a painful test or procedure, or receiving bad news or a serious diagnosis.

What to do about medical gaslighting

Medical gaslighting describes when health care professionals seem to invalidate or ignore a patient's concerns. It can have many causes, such as a health care provider who has poor communication skills, limited time to speak with a patient, a lack of medical knowledge, or unconscious bias. Someone who suspects gaslighting is occurring during an appointment might try to reframe or rephrase health concerns or questions, or ask a buddy to speak on his or her behalf. If there's no resolution, it might be a good idea to get a different clinician.

Is U.S. life expectancy getting shorter?

A 2023 study found that between the 1930s and the mid-1980s, life expectancy in the United States was generally longer than in other wealthy nations. However, since the mid-1980s, the United States has been doing progressively and dramatically worse. Among many reasons for this change is the fact that the country doesn't make health care as widely available to all citizens as do other wealthy countries. For example, tens of millions of people in the United States do not have health insurance. Ultimately, it will be up to society to make health improvements nationwide.

Can AI answer medical questions better than your doctor?

When a study asked doctors and artificial intelligence to respond to selected patient questions, a chatbot received higher ratings for empathy and quality. But a closer look at the research spotlights important limitations and findings.

Do you need a medical escort?

Some minor medical procedures require patients to bring a medical escort because they involve anesthesia or sedation, which can leave patients groggy or feeling ill afterward. Finding a medical escort can be problematic for older adults who live alone or have no family members or friends who can fill in. Public transportation also won't suffice, since drivers can't accompany customers into their homes. People in need of a medical escort can seek help from community organizations or check with their area's Office on Aging or home health agencies for such services.

Free Healthbeat Signup

Get the latest in health news delivered to your inbox!

Sign Up
Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Thanks for visiting. Don't miss your FREE gift.

The Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness, is yours absolutely FREE when you sign up to receive Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Sign up to get tips for living a healthy lifestyle, with ways to fight inflammation and improve cognitive health, plus the latest advances in preventative medicine, diet and exercise, pain relief, blood pressure and cholesterol management, and more.

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Get helpful tips and guidance for everything from fighting inflammation to finding the best diets for weight loss...from exercises to build a stronger core to advice on treating cataracts. PLUS, the latest news on medical advances and breakthroughs from Harvard Medical School experts.

BONUS! Sign up now and
get a FREE copy of the
Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Stay on top of latest health news from Harvard Medical School.

Plus, get a FREE copy of the Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness.