When people are threatened by any serious illness, learning about non-medical issues is an obvious but often neglected need. For example, What can a person do to prepare for a physician visit? At Smarter Medical Care, our mission is to offer practical advice about matters in concise, casual conversations between medical experts during that period of time when people are confronting illness.
What are some other “non-medical” issues? How can a person tell their child they are ill? Or minimize mood swings? Or cope with friends who make painful statements? Or manage pain and fatigue? How can recently diagnosed individuals cope with family and friends, or negotiate the medical system, or deal with insurance companies, or manage their time or prepare for tests? These are uncommonly discussed issues that should be addressed. Smarter Medical Care’s episodes address these issues directly, practically and compassionately.
Our only mission at Smarter Medical Care is to promote a better quality of life for those needing to interact with the health care delivery system. Episodes such as ours do not rely so greatly on how health literate people are. People with very different educational backgrounds with different degrees of anxiety can hear the podcasts as often as they like with others around to promote discussions, and all these attributes can lead to better health outcomes for people. Instead of cartoon drawings and statements about illness aimed at the fourth grade level, we can inform people about subject matter they want to hear about in language they are more receptive to.
We have focused on other areas of medicine to help patients and families obtain better care through education. One area is the use of Coumadin, the commonest oral anticoagulant in use in the world and one that is beset by its potential to promote bleeding. Anticoagulation clinics have been established over the last decade to provide safer, systematic, algorithm-driven delivery of Coumadin. Bleeding has been reduced but more efforts are needed. Our audio podcasts teach people about how Coumadin is monitored, the advantages of point-of-service finger-stick blood tests to monitor Coumadin, how to diminish emergency room visits, and what to know about Coumadin’s interactions with diet and other medications. As always, Smarter Medical Care allows people to listen whenever and as often as they want. For non-medical issues when you are sick, for those wanting safer use of Coumadin and for many other medical issues, education among those in need of health care is the best way to make our health care delivery system better.