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Click and Connect: 3 Ways to Stay in Touch with Your M.D.

by Bob Greene for The Best

The routine goes something like this: You decide you need to see your doctor so you make an appointment. You show up at your scheduled time and wait in the waiting room. You get called into an exam room and wait some more. Someone—a nurse or PA—eventually stops in to do some routine checks. After some more waiting, you finally get to see your doctor. The visit lasts all of about 10 minutes, during which time you try your best to ask all the questions you have (hopefully you’ve remembered to write them down) and share information about whatever issue has brought you into the office.

Bob Greene Click and Connect

Doesn’t exactly seem like the best use of your time—but what other options do you have? Plenty—and many of them can be found online. Over half of Americans are interested in their doctors taking to Facebook and Twitter so they can interact with them via social media.

Facebook: Almost one-third of doctors have accepted friend requests from their patients on Facebook, says research from George Washington University’s School of Medicine and Health Sciences. It’s also possible that they have a professional “page” instead of a personal one that you can access.

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Dr. Jason Cleveland Followed His Own Medical Advice to Lose 60 Pounds

It was around the age of 9 that Dr. Jason Cleveland of Lake Worth, Florida, started to develop a weight problem. Eating too much and choosing poor quality food were his primary downfalls – a result of poor eating habits he learned from his parents. Cleveland, now 42, doesn’t necessarily fault his parents. However, he does admit they simply didn’t know much about proper nutrition for kids – a problem that’s becoming more and more prevalent in today’s society.

This poor nutritional foundation ultimately resulted in Cleveland reaching his highest weight of nearly 250 pounds. It wasn’t until attending a wedding in May 2010 that he realized it was time for a change. “I had to have my entire tuxedo enlarged to wear. I am a wellness practitioner, and I could not believe how far I had fallen,” he said.” The next day I started my quest.”

To lose the weight, Cleveland adopted an 80% diet-20% exercise motto – a plan he created years earlier for patients at his practice. “I do not start any of my clients on exercise until they have lost a significant amount of weight for fear of injury,” he said. After losing the first 40 pounds, Cleveland began cardio only – something as simple as jumping rope.
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More Doctors Turning Away Patients Because of Their Weight

With obesity rates in the U.S. continuing to reach alarming rates, it seems there’s an even more urgent need for health professionals to be up to the task of caring for those who struggle with their weight. However, a new trend is resulting in some patients being turned by their doctors because they’re too overweight.

According to recent article from CNN, a number of doctors are reportedly turning away patients who weigh more than a set number of pounds for various reasons – from inadequate equipment to being unable to properly care for patients of a larger size.

One patient interviewed for the story, Ida Davidson, said that on her second visit to a new primary doctor they turned her away, saying couldn’t care for her because she weighed more than 200 pounds.

That physician was Dr. Helen Carter, who practices in Worcester, Massachusetts, and began screening out obese patients last spring after some of her staff members were injured while apparently caring for or assisting overweight patients.
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HealthTap Gives You 24/7 Access to Your Doctor and More Health Resources

Health Tap has just released a new line of apps for iPad, iPhone, Android, and the web in order to connect people with more than 12,000 U.S. licensed doctors at any time to answer health-related questions of all kinds. Health Tap is the first and the only company to provide a very specific selection of physicians to help the public find information on the health topics in which they care about most – all for free.

Their goal is to encourage the public to be more engaged in their own health by providing them with a free and easy-to-use service. Studies have shown that more than 80 percent of internet users seek their health information/questions online, and it’s now becoming a mobile trend.

Some of the most useful features include:

  • Up-to-date and Personalized Health Information: Follow doctors, topics, and questions to stay up-to-date on the issues that make a difference to you.
  • Doctor-to-Doctor Ratings: View each physician’s “DocScore,” a quality score for doctors that involves publicly available data and doctor-to-doctor peer review.
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Doctors Increasingly Prescribing Exercise to Patients

At a time when obesity rates are at an all-time high and continuing to grow, doctors are bumping up their recommendations for patients to increase their physical activity. The CDC reports that in 2010, one in three adults that saw a doctor or other health care professional was advised to increase their physical activity to improve their health. This is a vast increase to the recommendations in 2000 when less than one in four consultations resulted in a recommendation of more physical activity. This dramatic change over 10 years shows that members of the medical community are increasing their efforts to recommend lifestyle change to boost health benefits.

This development is important because patients typically listen to advice given by their doctors. According to a study done in 2008, overweight patients were nearly five times more likely to exercise if their doctors counseled them to do so. They were even more likely to keep active if their doctor followed up with them after the initial prescription.

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