Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Patient's Playbook

THE PATIENT’S PLAYBOOK by Leslie D. Michelson is a must hear for anyone who expects to be a patient at a hospital sometime during their life. Yup, that’s everyone. What the book does is give you a broad view of how to choose a doctor right for you, when to seek a second opinion, and an understanding of the pressure on hospital staff to overprescribe drugs and to do unnecessary tests. (This protects them from malpractice while enabling them to maximize profits.) What to ask in such cases is good to know, plus clues are given as to when the word “unnecessary” may apply to your case. Medical care is rising in cost at three to five times the rate of inflation, while hospitals are bringing in more technology, not necessarily to increase good patient outcomes, but to offset losses to those without insurance. As the title suggests, it can be a game. And so you need a playbook to read the runaround strategies employed to charge more to you (and to your insurance company, and to Medicare.) Many case studies are innumerated of patients whose misdiagnosis led to complications and needless suffering (or even death.) This is because, says the author, many physicians unfortunately must see 40 patients a day to keep their practice, and are inclined to take a “try this and see” approach instead of taking the time to coordinate holistic care after studying one’s medical history. “If their solution is to send you to specialist rather than spend time with you, you probably have the wrong primary physician. With your life at stake, you need to find the right doctor.” This doctor/author also narrates, and handles the job with the professional ease of a longtime speech giver. His listenable, encouraging tone and voice augments the experience.

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