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Friday, April 15, 2011

Michael Jackson, Tom Brady, and Boris Yeltsin: Getting Your Best Health Care

What do Michael Jackson, Tom Brady, Boris Yeltsin, and Anna Nicole Smith have in common?

They all had health crises with important lessons for protecting your clients’ health, and your family’s health, as told in my new book, Getting Your Best Health Care: Real-World Stories for Patient Empowerment.

How does this book benefit the reader?

The lessons from the dozens of stories of celebrities and others are easy to read and absorb in advance of any health crisis. If the reader is in a health crisis, she can refer to the summary suggestions at the end of each chapter, and the chapter on using a professional advocate, for immediate guidance.

The book also draws lessons by telling the healthcare stories of Dr. Don Berwick, actress Farrah Fawcett, former Pres. George W. Bush, comedian Art Buchwald, Dr. Jerome Groopman, Dr. Peter Pronovost, newsman Ed Bradley, former Rep. Geraldine Ferraro, and many others.

Many doctors and nurses consider themselves patient advocates. What should they do?

My book describes how they can be maximally patient-centered. They can redesign everything from their academic approaches to their wallpaper, and everything from patient orientation and scheduling to end of life discussions.

In 50 words or less, how would you describe your book?

This book teaches patient advocates, both professionals and family members, to partner with their doctors and nurses, through brief stories, each with a lesson. Most chapters feature at least one story about a famous doctor or celebrity.

Who is your intended audience?

Two groups: Professional advocates, and women over 40. The professional audience will consist mostly of patient advocates, geriatric and other case managers, social workers, nurses, doctors, etc. Secondly, women usually serve as the guardians of their family’s health, so they’re the most likely readers. Women who are sandwiched, pressed between the needs of their elderly parents and their children, are the primary audience. Men who take responsibility for their own health, and that of their family, should also read the book.

What does “patient advocacy” mean in today’s healthcare world?

At different times in their work with an ill person, the advocate plays the roles of a teacher, midwife, knight, confidante, and political activist. To me, an advocate is ultimately a champion who helps a single patient get safely through a health crisis.

Why is there an urgent need for a book about patient advocacy right now?

There are three reasons occurring within the last month or so. First is the greater awareness of just how widespread medical errors are. In early April, David Classen, Roger Resar and their team reported in Health Affairs that one-third of hospital patients experience an adverse event. That awareness creates great fear among patients. Knowledge about how patient advocates can keep people safe in hospitals will dispel that fear. Second is the growing appeal of medical procedures that are surprisingly risky, ranging from cosmetic surgery to new ways to use powerful radiation to treat cancer. Third is the broad push by both political parties’ leaders to reduce healthcare costs. President Obama and Rep. Paul Ryan both announced game-changing initiatives in early April. It’s likely this will ultimately impel hard-working clinicians to work even faster, putting patients at risk.

What kind of information can readers expect to glean from the book?

The book is brimming with dozens, if not hundreds, of specific tips, each one presented as the moral of a true story about a celebrity, political figure, family member, or patient advocate. There’s everything from how to find the best Emergency Room, to suggestions for those living with chronic illness, everything from lessons learned in childbirth to how to pass on your wisdom to your heirs.

In the end, what do you hope to achieve through this book?

I have two hopes and dreams. I want to create the new patient, who becomes a partner with doctors and nurses in his own treatment. I want to guide the emerging professional patient advocates.

Where can readers find your book?

Bound books and e-books are available at a discounted price at Dorland Health's Professional Patient Advocate Institute. It’s also available online at Amazon.

Any parting words of advice for patient advocates?

They can rise to the challenge, as did the inspirational heroes in Chapter 12.


Gil Mileikowsky MD said...

Congratulations Ken !

It is a tremendous job to put together such an eclectic collection of valuable stories.

May all of your efforts assist our patients in their quest for the best care possible with the least possible risk.

All the Power to you,


Michael Gomez said...

Yeltsin? he had passion to strong alcoholic drinks which in turn killed him...
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