KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

More Patients Research Their Own Diseases, Seek To Manage Chronic Conditions

News outlets report on how the delivery of health care is being changed by empowered patients.

USA Today: "In the past, most patients placed their entire trust in the hands of their physician. Your doc said you needed a certain medical test, you got it. Not so much anymore. Though some doctors find the newer 'empowered' patients taxing, others … welcome involvement and questions, especially since they recognize more patients are ponying up for larger co-pays or are uninsured and covering entire medical fees themselves. And when it comes to medical testing, some of the newer, more invasive tests can have risks a patient should be aware of and discuss, too," says one doctor (Marcus, 8/31).

Seattle Post Intelligencer: "Health care leaders and politicians locally and across the country likely wish that more people would" learn how to better manage their chronic diseases. "It might make the current debate about how to contain the rampant rise in health care costs a little less urgent. (A study published in a recent issue of Health Affairs journal found that 75 percent of the $2.5 trillion spent in the U.S. each year on health care was for four chronic diseases: obesity, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer.) Locally, a Washington state chapter of the national Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) has formed to take on the issue. The organization notes that chronic diseases can often be prevented, delayed or alleviated through changes in behavior and lifestyle. It's committed to promoting a proactive approach to disease prevention and raising awareness of chronic disease as the number-one cause of death, disability and rising health care costs nationwide" (Economou, 8/31).

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