Tips for Parents & Patients

Looking For a Patient Advocate?


Healthcare is complex and when a loved one is ill, dealing with the physicians, tests, insurance, and choices can be overwhelming. That's when a patient advocate may help.


The problem is that volunteer patient advocates can be hard to find and the ones who charge can be expensive.


While I help guide and advise many about how to navigate the process, I am NOT a patient advocate for hire. If you need a patient advocate, there are resources on this site for you and some wonderful volunteer organizations are listed here. If you choose to hire a patient advocate please know there is no nationally recognized patient advocacy certification for private, independent patient advocates. Yet. A Patient Advocate Certification Board has been formed and exams will begin in 2018.


Before hiring a patient advocate, read this article: How to Find, Interview and Choose a Patient Advocate: Key Questions to Ask

There are virtual options for getting expert second opinions, so you don't have to live in a big city to get the right diagnosis.


Reducing misdiagnosis with virtual second opinions

by Christina Thielst 

Telemedicine and telehealth services have been connecting patients and providers who aren't sitting in front of each other for many years. The trend has been picking up speed in more recent years as some encounters leverage the internet and go virtual.

Patients can have secure messaging encounters with their physicians, complete online refractory testing for a prescription from an optometrist or transmit data from sensory and other monitoring devices into their provider's electronic record...  READ MORE

by Jennifer J. Bute, PHD & Meghan Gutierrez | Conditions 


Nearly every American is touched by serious chronic illness, either as a patient or as a caregiver. The federal government recognizes the far-reaching effects of such conditions, and agencies like the National

An undiagnosed food allergy can be deadly. Anaphylactic food reactions have grown 377% since 2007. 

Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conduct surveillance of these diseases. Such research allows us to better understand the burden of different diseases, develop new treatments and prevention practices, and protect the public’s health. And it is why surveillance programs exist for virtually every major disease and illness impacting the American public.

Despite this fact, there is no equivalent program in place for the 15... READ MORE

It's hard to get a correct diagnosis if the doctor thinks you're a difficult patient. Who is really responsible for that?

Difficult Patient or Difficult Doctor?

Jordan Grumet, MD, on humility vanquished and restored

by MedPage Today Staff

I have come to believe that humility is an essential component of wisdom. Never have I found this truer than in the practice of medicine. In fact, for almost every atrocious professional error in judgment I have made, I can pinpoint the exact moment where I stopped being humble.

Yet time and time again, humility quickly disappears when dealing with the difficult patient. In fact, the label "difficult" assumes the problem lies within the patient and not the technique being utilized by the care provider. Already, blame is turned outward and personal responsibility abandoned.

A few years ago, when I was in a group practice, one of the senior partners had a particularly needy patient that somehow showed up on all our schedules from time to time. Her aged joints carried her into the exam room to in a particularly hobbled rhythm. She paused before each sentence, her voice barely above a whisper.

Her litany of issues was long and nonsensical. And this was always the precise moment when humility left the room. We all became convinced that her complaints were psychosomatic. And we were  right. It still amazes me at how cavalier I can be when I think a solution is either simple or nonphysiologic... READ MORE 

Blood Lead Test Safety Alert!

FDA warns Americans about risk of inaccurate results from certain lead tests


CDC recommends retesting for certain children, pregnant women, and nursing mothers


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are warning Americans that certain lead tests manufactured by Magellan Diagnostics may provide inaccurate results for some children and adults in the United States. The CDC recommends that parents of children younger than six years (72 months) of age and currently pregnant women and nursing mothers at the time of this alert who have been tested for lead exposure consult a health care provider about whether they should be retested.

“The FDA is deeply concerned by this situation and is warning laboratories and health care professionals that they should not use any Magellan Diagnostics’ lead tests with blood drawn from a vein,” said Jeffrey Shuren, M.D., J.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health. “The agency is aggressively investigating this complicated issue to determine the cause of the inaccurate results and working with the CDC and other public health partners to address the problem as quickly as possible.”

The FDA’s warning is based on currently available data that indicate Magellan lead tests, when performed on blood drawn from a vein, may provide results that are lower than the actual level of lead in the blood. This incl... READ MORE