An important goal of Highmark Health’s blog is to provide trustworthy information to keep you and your loved ones healthy. And when it comes to reliable health information, we go to the same source many of you do: our doctors.

That’s why you’ll find many articles that feature interviews, advice, and insights from doctors — and some written by doctors. From news on medical advances, to information on specific illnesses, to health and wellness advice, to tips on choosing a doctor, you can browse dozens of doctor-driven articles on the Care Connections category page, by using our site’s search tool or the “topic tags” at the end of each article, or by visiting our Allegheny Health Network (AHN) page. But in this article, we’ll bring our doctors to you — kind of like a house call — by linking to articles in four vital areas.

A woman looking at a computer screen with a doctor on it

Choose a Doctor

Doctors are not “one size fits all.” For some people, the perfect primary care physician (PCP) is someone who asks a lot of questions and takes time to explain everything in detail; others prefer a doctor who keeps things quick and simple. Location, background, communication style, special expertise — there is lots to think about when choosing a doctor, and it’s too important a choice to leave to random trial and error.

That’s why one of the first articles we published on the Highmark Health blog was 5 Things to Look for in a Primary Care Physician. This article suggests key criteria to consider when selecting a PCP (or deciding whether to continue seeing an existing PCP). Finding a doctor you are comfortable with can be even more important for women choosing an obstetrician-gynecologist (OB-GYN), so another article specifically focuses on Choosing an OB-GYN You Trust. We also have articles on when and how to get behavioral health support — one for adults and another with tips for parents concerned about their child.

Highmark Health and its affiliates have also come up with innovative ways to help people choose a doctor. In 2015, Highmark partnered with AHN to create the Meet Dr. Right program. At each free Meet Dr. Right event you can take part in a kind of “speed dating” where you talk to a range of in-network doctors located in your community. This allows you to get to know doctors (and sometimes their staff) before choosing whether or not to invite them into your life. The ongoing popularity of this program inspired a more recent web-based tool called Dr. Match; based loosely on online dating platforms, Dr. Match lets you answer a series of questions, then pulls up the local doctors who are the best match for your responses.

 

Ask a Doc

Whether you have crucial health-related questions or are just satisfying your curiosity about a health issue you saw on social media, “asking Google” doesn’t always get you the best information. That’s one reason we created our Ask a Doc series.

As the title suggests, in this series we literally ask a doc to talk about their area of expertise and provide reliable information on health-related subjects. If you’re a Highmark health plan member, you’ll be interested to know that all doctors in this series are in network for Highmark plans in their region. There are nearly 20 articles in the series so far, and we have more on the way. Here are just a few questions our docs have answered:

Expert Health Tips

There is an excess of information online when it comes to health — the trick is knowing what you can trust. That’s why we went straight to the experts on some common health concerns, including managing high blood pressure, understanding your cholesterol numbers, heart-healthy diet choices, skin care and preventing skin cancer, and maintaining an athletic body after age 40. We even have an article for those of you concerned about zombie outbreaks and other pandemics.

We’ve also invited our doctors to add clarity on issues getting a lot of media (and social media) coverage that feels potentially confusing. That’s what led to the article, Is There a Link Between Birth Control and Depression? and an article on the increased demand for preventive double mastectomies.

While we’re touring doctor-related articles here, let’s not forget that there are other experts worth listening to when it comes to health tips. One of the most popular series on the Highmark Health blog is Do-It-Yourself Health, a monthly post with fitness and nutrition tips and videos from Highmark’s health coaches, nutritionists and wellness experts.

The Future of Health Care

The future of health care depends on many variables, including shifts in public policy, changes in market dynamics across the health care industry, technological innovation, and medical breakthroughs. Many of our doctors are involved in creating that future, and it is especially exciting to talk with them about advances that mean more effective treatment with fewer side effects, new hope in the fight against cancer, and better outcomes and experiences for patients battling chronic disease.

A great example is our conversation with Dr. Gene Finley about immunotherapy, a non-toxic cancer treatment option that uses the body’s own immune system. While it’s not a “miracle cure,” studies and clinical trials on immunotherapy have shown promise, including in treating some types of cancer where there weren’t good options in the past.

Speaking of cancer, another good “future of health care” article is our interview with Dr. David Parda about the Highmark Cancer Collaborative, an initiative that brings together Highmark, AHN, and the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center to improve cancer treatment outcomes while also reducing costs.

Cardiology is another area where AHN doctors are doing leading-edge work. Articles with our cardiologists include looking at advances in coronary stents, interventional cardiology, and heart valve disease solutions.

Not every advance is purely medical — this article by an in-network doctor in the Lehigh Valley talks about improvements in care driven by collaborative, cooperative relationships and sharing data.

If you’re interested in the future, also check out our Links to the Future page, where we serve up a set of regularly updated, curated articles about new developments. That page replaces an older Links to the Future series that summarized and linked to articles on everything from tumor-detecting glasses and dementia-diagnosing pens to nanotech toothbrushes.

Suggestions?

We are always interested in hearing what readers would like to see covered as we plan new doctor-driven articles in the months ahead. Use our comments form to share your ideas and feedback!