Healthcare Archive


Why do some heart drugs cost so much?

Health insurance companies sometimes require prior authorization for new, expensive medications. The high price patients pay for these drugs is related to complexities in health insurance coverage.

Health care should improve your health, right?

Modern medicine offers ever-expanding ways to heal and prevent disease, but it's also true that health care can cause harm. Some harms are preventable while others are much harder to control. So how can you reduce your chances of being harmed?

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.

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