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Keri McDonough

Recent Posts by Keri McDonough

October 21, 2016

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Categories: Global Healthcare, Health, Health Policy and Access, Healthcare, Policy

Trump or Clinton? Either May Lead to Better Mental Healthcare

In September, the Commonwealth Fund and the Rand Corporation released a comprehensive nonpartisan analysis estimating the impact of the healthcare positions of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. If Trump were to succeed in repealing the Affordable Care Act, millions would lose insurance in 2018, the analysis found, while Clinton’s proposed “enhancements” to the Act would extend coverage to millions more. Clinton’s plan would have zero impact on the federal deficit.  Under Trump’s proposals, the deficit would grow. See also: Patient Listening: Is Pharma Doing It Right? Largely missing from the Rand/Commonwealth calculations is a comparison of how the two candidates would tackle reforms in the area of mental health. That’s because of a troubling asymmetry in data. Clinton has released a comprehensive mental health agenda, but Trump has provided almost no information — and it’s a shame. Nearly one in five Americans struggle with illnesses in this category, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. It’s a crisis Americans can’t afford to ignore. Up to a point, legislative reforms have improved prospects for people living with these illnesses. The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 forged a legal framework to guarantee people with mental health conditions the sameContinue Reading

December 1, 2015

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Categories: Patient Communications

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Understanding the Cognitive Biases of Patients in the Age of Information Overload

Consumers are receiving more healthcare information than ever before. Fitbits, apps and electronic health records provide loads of personal data. Rising patient autonomy has led to greater demand for and access to registry, clinical trial and post-marketing surveillance data. And forums and feeds serve up endless opinions and resources. As communicators, we often create content designed for patients’ real and metaphorical inboxes. While information is power, helping patients understand their own tendencies and how they can best assess information is also powerful– especially as the healthcare system navigates the shift from a rigid “doctor knows best” framework and patients play a greater role in the treatment decision-making process. As human beings, our ability to process information is far more limited than the size of our inboxes. Cognitive biases–or mental shortcuts–allow us to cut down on the cognitive burden of information overload. This is why the cognitive biases we use when evaluating information may be just as important as the type of information we receive. Yet while a good deal of attention has been given recently to how healthcare provider bias can influence patient care, most notably in the areas of gender, race and weight, less attention has been paid toContinue Reading