News Release

September 13, 2006

Contact: Jane Shaskan, 860-679-4777

Patient School – Getting the Most from Health Care

Knowledge and New Confidence for Health Care Consumers

FARMINGTON, CONN. – A course designed to give patients the tools they need to successfully negotiate an increasingly more complicated health care system is being offered at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine in Farmington Thursdays, Oct. 5 through Nov. 9, from 6:30 to 8:45 p.m.

Patient School provides information on a number of health-related topics to help patients maximize the quality of their health care. Attendees will receive practical information to help them become better, more successful patients – and patient advocates.

“This is educational program, which we believe is the first of its kind in the nation, is for everyone,” said program director Robert Trestman, M.D., director of the Connecticut Health Signature Program at UConn Health Center. “In all likelihood, we’ll all experience being a patient or patient advocate.”

Of the more than 90 percent of the class responding to an evaluation, 100 percent indicated they would recommend the class to others. Three months later, half responded to a follow-up questionnaire and more than 90 percent indicated they had used principles they had learned at Patient School. “After the spring class, we had no doubt we were offering something of real value to our citizens. As an academic institution, our mission is to educate, and we think we’ve done that,” said Wendy Soneson, the program manager.

Graduates of Patient School will be able to identify their rights and responsibilities as a patient or patient advocate, employ strategies to optimize doctors’ office visits and hospitalizations, and find and use reliable sources of health information to increase their understanding of medical conditions and treatment options and more. Each class will feature one or two topics and a question and answer period.

Course topics and presenters from the UConn Health Center faculty include:

  • “A Roadmap to Reliable Health Information – It’s a Jungle out There!” – how to find accurate, reliable health information, evaluate websites, and sort out conflicting data and current research, Evelyn Morgan, director of Lyman Maynard Stowe Library, and staff.  
  • “When the Patient is Your Parent or Child – Your Role as the Patient Advocate” – what every patient advocate should know, presented by Grael O’Brien, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Pediatrics.  
  • “Answers to Questions You Weren’t Asked, But Should Have Been” – a template for recording personal medical information for each type of physician visit, presented by Charles Huntington III, P.A., Connecticut Health Signature Program.  
  • “Understanding the Results of Diagnostic and Screening Tests” – how to interpret diagnostic and screening tests, presented by Scott Wetstone, M.D., Department of Community Medicine and Health Care. 
  • “Legal and Ethical Issues at the End of Life: The Importance of Advance Care Planning” – understanding advance directives for end-of-life issues and developing a step-by-step procedure for decision-making, presented by Barbara Blechner, J.D., Division of Medical Humanities, Health Law and Ethics.  
  • “Hospitalization/Inpatient Care” – preparing for a successful hospitalization or surgery, and strategies for working with caregivers, Carlene Bartolotta, assistant director, Patient Relations.  
  • “Insurance, Billing and Finances” – determine how and when to discuss healthcare finances with your provider and identifying the role and responsibilities of your insurer, James Thornton, Controller, Department of Finance.  
  • “HIPAA Privacy” – learn about the many facets of privacy protection patients are entitled to under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, Iris Mauriello, Corporate Compliance Integrity and Privacy Officer, Compliance Office.

Participants will receive a variety of resource and educational materials at each class. They will also be awarded a Patient School certificate of completion.

“We believe Patient School can significantly help people become wise and savvy health care consumers by providing the tools they need to negotiate today’s health care environment with confidence,” said Dr. Wetstone. “Knowledge and information are the foundation for maximizing patient care and being your own best advocate, and direct instruction from professionals is the best way to build that foundation,” he said.

There is a charge of $59 for Patient School. To register and for more information, call UConnLink 679-7692, or 800-535-6232. Class size is limited to 30 participants.

UConn Health includes the schools of medicine and dental medicine, the UConn Medical Group, University Dentists, and John Dempsey Hospital. Home to Bioscience Connecticut, UConn Health pursues a mission of providing outstanding health care education in an environment of exemplary patient care, research and public service. More information about UConn Health is available at

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