Most people are very familiar with the popular health information websites like WebMD and Medline Plus. Granted, they are well-conceived and valuable resources for a patient seeking information on a medical topic, and we all turn to them when we search the net for information on what ails us. However, I have discovered a real treasure that far surpasses them all. Unfortunately, it is a lesser known resource, but it just could be the best consumer health information resource we have in this country. It is a shame that more people do not know about it. With this installment of I Am a Patient, my new blog, I want to change that and share the treasure with you.
I really don't remember exactly how we found the treasure, but a few years ago, I bought a used car and it was equipped with Sirius XM. Prior to buying the car, I knew very little about satellite radio, although I have been a fan of AM and FM radio my entire life. So, since it came with the car, I gave it a try, and was overwhelmed by the hundreds of stations that were at my beckon call. I found a few stations that I liked, and I gave them a place on my radio selection console. It was about a year later, and my wife bought her next car and it also had Sirius XM. She explored the stations and it was no more than three weeks later that my wife excitedly told me that she had discovered a station where 24 hours a day, they talk about medical issues. The station was called Doctor Radio, it was powered by the NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, and it offered round-the-clock talk shows hosted by some of the smartest doctors in the United States. My wife encouraged me to try it on my ride to work the next morning. Over the next few days, I listened more intently. You could not help but be impressed. Long story short - my wife and I became so thrilled with the station that we purchased a Sirius XM radio for our kitchen, so we can listen to the station when we are home as well as when we are in the car. In fact, last year, we went to Manhattan for the day, and we made sure that we made our first stop the lobby of NYU Langone, where nested in the corner of the medical center lobby is the glass-enclosed studio where all of the magic takes place. We were avid listeners. We needed to connect the voices with a place. One of the best parts of that day for my wife was that she was able to meet some of the producers and begin friendships with them. They now know her on a first name basis when she calls in.
Doctor Radio was conceived by Dr. Marc Siegel, an internist, at NYU Langone along with some of his colleagues. The station features shows on all types of topics from orthopedics to pediatrics to health insurance to sexual health. Each show is hosted by an expert. Some are doctors, some are administrators, some are therapists, and some are wellness clinicians. They all work at NYU Langone, and they all have one common goal - to explain the complexities of the human body in completely easy to understand terms. The station sits at 110 on the Sirius XM dial, and once you study the schedule on their website (http://www.siriusxm.com/doctorradio), you learn when each expert is recording his or her show and you can call in with any question you have and get it fully answered. To me, this is the true essence of patient advocacy, and that is how each show is conducted. Each host wants the listener to become better informed and become a more proactive patient. That really works for me. Some shows go live at very early hours of the morning. Fortunately, the recorded shows are repeated several times during the week so if you can't get up to listen the first time, you have several opportunities to hear the show either later that day or later in the week. And if you have asked a question on the air, you can listen to yourself on the radio along with the answer you received when the show is repeated.
My wife has her favorite shows, and I have mine. Because of my passion for patient rights, one of the shows that I will stop everything I am doing to listen to is Healthcare Connect with Andrew Rubin. I consider Andrew Rubin to be the county's leading expert on all things related to health insurance. To sit and listen to him field call after call from folks across the country and answer every question so completely and so expertly is like watching Itzhak Perlman play the violin. Andrew Rubin is a virtuoso when it comes to explaining the truly complicated and ever-changing health insurance environment in which we all live. Now that the healthcare system looks like it is about to change again, I am counting on Andrew and his very competent co-hosts to be my GPS through whatever is on the horizon. The same holds true for every other host. Serious questions from patients who need answers are being addressed, but each host is able to make the two hours on the air entertaining, highly informative, and above all, filled with hope and encouragement.
So today I am endorsing Doctor Radio and encouraging you to tune to it in your car or on your phone or your tablet. Imagine having a team of medical experts to answer any question you may have about your health anytime of the day without any co-pay or an appointment. This is what Doctor Radio is all about, and that is why it is indeed a national treasure for patients throughout the country.
Bob Kieserman is Senior Lecturer in Healthcare Administration at the Arcadia University School of Global Business where he was the Program Director of the Healthcare Administration Program for over 20 years. He is also a practicing medical librarian focusing on consumer health information librarianship. Prior to joining Arcadia, Bob was the CEO of one of the country's leading continuing medical education companies and prior to that served as Assistant to the Deans of the Temple University School of Medicine. He was also a Special Lecturer in Medical Practice Management at Howard University College of Medicine and the Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine. Highly respected by both clinicians and administrators throughout the country, he is the author of four books on medical practice management. Bob's passion is educating patients about their rights and empowering patients to be better consumers of the healthcare delivery system.