This is a good article from the New York Times and hits on a very good point, lack of education in healthcare.  We have a lack of education in many areas in the country today, but this is the most important issue facing the country today.  If you don’t have your health, all the rest is meaningless.  We have a lot of folks talk about it, but do they contribute to the cause?  Good question and I always come back to the people who don’t read.  If we can encourage more people to read and hopefully take a few minutes away from entertainment every day, then we will make progress. 

I see this all the time with computers, games and fun are the focus and we seem to forget that the computer is a learning tool as well, but again, folks just can’t seem to tear themselves away from entertaining themselves.  In healthcare today, the patient needs to be involved.  We live in a world of information overflow and the doctors are no different, they even get more.  On top of keeping up with journals, medication news, surgical procedures, etc. they have to keep up with us too, so it’s time for the “informed patient” to emerge. 

We talk about business models all the time, so why not a new “patient model”, and we all contribute there.  With writing this blog I try to keep imagereaders updated with the latest surgical procedures, general pharmaceutical information and more, and hope that it reaches out to help, but again it goes back to reading and I am certainly not the only one on the internet doing this.  With recent interviews, I have spoken with some pretty intellectual individuals, but yet, bring the highlights down to a layman’s level where I hope everyone can benefit.  The blog is like a newspaper, you pick and choose what you want to read and leave the rest.  I have had a few emails with individuals thanking me for surgery information they found on the blog, in other words they had a different type of surgery than originally planned as they found the new alternative here and went back and discussed with their doctors, and that in itself is enough encourage me to keep writing about new technology and healthcare procedures.   Again, I am not the only website that does this, and it helps to READ. 

We have both computer and health literacy problems in the country and they both work hand in hand, if you don’t have access or know how to use a computer, where are you going to find the information you need?  Personal Health Records are a good example case here, as I try to put all the updated information I can find on the site, but does anyone read it, I hope so.  If you use a PHR, you will get involved in your healthcare, plain and simple.  I use one and somewhat did a bit of a campaign here asking those who don’t use one to quit talking about it to hear yourself speak, get one and then be the expert, otherwise we are back to “magpie healthcare”, which means individuals with no experience talking to hear themselves talk and tell everyone what they should do, not do as I do, but rather do as I say, which is garbage. 

What shocked me too was earlier this year seeing the testimonies in the Senate in front of the healthcare committee and the little knowledge members of Congress had.  This is not to pick on anyone, but it’s out there on the web for anyone to see and create their own opinion, the senators had no idea what a personal health record was and how it benefits healthcare, but they have the job of appropriating funds for healthcare and education, pot calling the kettle black, or more “magpie healthcare”? 

The Gates Foundation has teamed up with Viacom to also help reach the people who do not read or read very little.  When you read the post, they are the only ones “paying” for this time as others have tried to get donation time, but entertainment and dollars call the shots there, so the foundation is paying for something we should be doing anyway and hats off to this effort by all means. 

Gates Foundation and Viacom Team Up for “Get Schooled”

Someone asked me the other day what does “magpie healthcare” mean, so while I’m writing this I should explain I guess.  A magpie is a bird that can talk and it only repeats what it hears, from the world of down under.  Here’s an entertaining cartoon that shows what happens when the magpies move in next door, they move in and have all the answers?    The point here is that we need to be more than a magpie and simply not repeat, but also partake as healthcare education is for everyone.

Microsoft unveils new online learning and employment resource – Elevate America

Back to the point here, the patient did not take his medications, and perhaps did not understand how important treatment was for his diabetes condition and died.  There are many out here talking about education, but what’s being done?  Patients sometimes can’t even identify their doctors.  Also, if you have not seen this post, it’s a futuristic visit to the doctor and is a bet humorous, but one thing to think about is that all the technology shown is here today and has been featured on the blog.  Can we finally start taking action and put an end to “Magpie Healthcare”.  BD 

Patients with limited health literacy tend to be in poorer health, partake less frequently of preventive health measures and screening, and become hospitalized more frequently, resulting in an estimated annual cost of $50 billion to $73 billion.

A recent study put the cost in even starker terms: elderly patients with limited health literacy are almost twice as likely to die.

Jack, I now suspect, had limited health literacy. He didn’t comprehend the severity and complexity of his diseases and couldn’t care for himself, in part, because no health care professional had ever spoken to him in a way that he could process. And his pride prevented him from asking for help.

“He died,” my colleague answered. “He went home and didn’t take his antibiotics. His diabetes got out of control, and he ended up dying in the I.C.U. from a disseminated infection.”

“Over the years,” she said, “the health care system has gone from a paternalistic, doctor-centered model to one that is patient-centered, with shared decision-making on every level. I think it’s great, but that really places high literacy demands on patients. We expect them to go home with diabetes or congestive heart failure or an organ transplant and just take care of themselves.“

“For doctors,” she added, “there just isn’t any time to sit down and make sure your patient understands. Doctors have these external pressures. They have 15 to 20 minute interactions in the clinic; and on the wards they are running from patient to patient.”  “Over the years,” she said, “the health care system has gone from a paternalistic, doctor-centered model to one that is patient-centered, with shared decision-making on every level. I think it’s great, but that really places high literacy demands on patients.

Doctor and Patient - Do You Know What Your Doctor Is Talking About? -

Related Reading:

There’s No Good Reason to Delay Data Liquidity and Information Sharing in Healthcare..

Microsoft Interview on Fox following the Senate Health IT Testimonies

Excessive Incentives and Rules – Where Did the Wisdom Go in HealthCare?

Think tank details its ideas for use of health IT records – Do they use a PHR?

Education not Fear is Needed with Medical Health Records


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