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The Patient Navigator Blog


From advice on specific illnesses to tips on how to communicate with your specialists, there’s a wealth of knowledge on the Patient Navigator blog.

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Patient Navigators – Who We Are and What We Do


Patient advocacy, or patient navigation, is gaining attention as an emerging profession, both in the media and in the popular lexicon, because it fills so many gaps in the current American health care system. This is especially true today as we continue implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which is changing the landscape for consumers in how health care is delivered and paid for in this country.

Cancer

How We Make Medical Decisions


The bewildering sensation of too much information, yet not enough knowledge to use it, is the reality for many people faced with a serious illness or condition. How do you decide what to do?

Cancer

Virtual Colonoscopy – Is It For You?


In a new study led by a physician at the Mayo Clinic’s facility in Phoenix and published in the journal Radiology, the investigators determined that the virtual technique was just as effective for patients over age 65 as those aged 50-65.

Cancer

Health Literacy Spotlight


Only 12% of Americans have proficient health literacy skills, so the majority of adults may have difficulty completing routine health tasks like understanding discharge instructions or diabetes care. There is a strong, independent association between health literacy and health outcomes.

Other health issues

Hospital Infections – Stay Safe!


Preventing hospital infections: 1) Wash hands with soap; 2) Clean patient’s skin with antiseptic; 3) put sterile drapes over entire patient; 4) Wear a sterile mask, gown, hat and gloves; 5) put a sterile dressing over the catheter site. Many hospitals fail this test.

Cancer

Informed Consent: Your Rights and Responsibility


Every person has the right to fully participate in decisions regarding his or her own health care. This legal doctrine is called the right to informed consent. As a patient or caregiver, you have the right and responsibility to obtain as much information as you need to be able to commit to a course of treatment or testing process.

Cancer

Perplexed Pediatrician – Should Mom Worry?


When her son’s pediatrician said she had never heard of the National Cancer Institute (www.cancer.gov), this young mom was blown away. Should she worry about entrusting her son’s care to a doctor who has never heard of this world-famous institution? Comments invited.

Cancer

Cyberchondria – Don’t Let This Happen to You!


“Cyberchondriacs” spend hours at the computer screen, typing in symptoms, or fears, wading through the results, both accurate and inaccurate, and convincing themselves they have a certain condition. Often, they will print out reams of documentation and present themselves to their doctors, having already diagnosed their “condition” and determined a course of treatment.

Cancer

Enjoy Your Valentine’s Chocolate!


Research has shown that dark chocolate improves blood vessel functioning, thus lowering blood pressure, taking stress off your heart and helping your blood circulate more efficiently. Dark chocolate also has antioxidant qualities, which come from flavonoids found in cocoa. So on Valentine’s Day, nothing says “I love you” like some delicious, dark chocolate

Cancer

Investigational Drug Therapies – FDA Changes


Access to investigational therapies is a highly debated topic in the medical world.  Investigational therapy involves drugs that are being scientifically tested but not yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Often these drugs are offered through programs such as “compassionate use programs,” and “expanded access programs” to allow seriously ill patients access…

Cancer

We All Carry Cancer Cells


We all have cancer cells in our bodies. The good news is that, for most of us, our body’s natural defenses know how to defeat these defective, tumor-causing cells, and they never get the chance to grow up into a full-blown cancer. Whether you’ve had cancer or not, any person who wants to improve their chances of avoiding cancer should read Dr. David Servan-Schreiber’s very important book called “Anti-Cancer – A New Way of Life.”

Cancer

Our Health Is Our Greatest Gift


Many of you reading this blog have experienced some type of difficult health situation, for yourselves, a friend or family member.  It’s also what makes so many of us passionate about helping others through their illness.  It’s why Patient Navigator exists. Since it’s the New Year, most people take some type of inventory of their…

Caregivers

“Advocates Help Patients Navigate Health Care Maze”


On June 22, NPR reporter Richard Knox aired this story during the “Morning Edition” broadcast.  It was an excellent piece profiling efforts by an individual and a volunteer organization to help patients and families get the care they need to navigate our health care and elder care systems.  Each time the media does a piece on…

Cancer

Center for Mind-Body Medicine Training


I attended a four-day training sponsored by the Center for Mind-Body Medicine in Washington, D.C. from June 11-14.   It is called CancerGuides II and it was extraordinary.  During this training, we learned to create safe, effective individualized programs of comprehensive and integrative care for people with cancer and their families.   I met hundreds of practitioners…

Cancer

Patient Navigators Guide Us Through the Medical Maze


The March 29, 2009 edition of Parade magazine featured an article about the new specialty of patient navigation.  The article highlights some of what navigators can do.  For now, the National Cancer Institute has undertaken several pilot projects to train and deploy navigators in medically underserved areas.   But as the article also correctly points out, patient navigators…