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Ask a Texas Heart Institute Doctor 
Informed patients make better patients.

Web Health Awards

"Ask a Texas Heart Institute Doctor" is a 2010 Merit Winner in the Web Health Awards competition in the category of Interactive Content Hospital/Health Care System. The award honors high-quality electronic health information and Texas Heart Institute is proud that our forum has been recognized for its contribution to consumer health education.

Health Literacy Innovator AwardHealth Literacy Innovations honored the THI website with a 3rd place award (October 2011) in the category of Clear Focus Multi-Media for demonstrated commitment to excellence in health literacy in media usability and design. The award recognizes the Heart Information Center online library of health topics as well as Ask a Heart Doctor, Project Heart, and Center for Women's Heart & Vascular Health.  

Comments from Users

We appreciate feedback from people who have used the Ask a Heart Doctor site to search for subjects of interest or to submit a question. Here are some recent responses. 


Very satisfied with the way the question was answered.

Neither of the 2 questions I asked were answered. I included additional questions with my request to choose a doctor & my question to the doctor was not truly answered. [Editor's Note: We understand your frustration. We do look at the feedback to help the whole team improve the service.] 

My question was answered and I found the doctor's advice very helpful as we consider our surgical options.  Thank you very much!

In general, it is good.  However, in reading the part on heat exhaustion and heat stroke, I noticed that it assumed that there was always someone available to direct the subject. Some of us are very independent and have to take action ourselves instead of depending on others to do something for us.

Dr. ... answered my question very thoroughly, I was impressed....Doctors who answer in depth questions with a 3 word reply probably never acquired any bedside manner, so to speak....But when an MD (like the aforementioned) answers a question very thoughtfully, you can tell someone like that would be a physician one would want to see.... [Editor's Note: Thanks for taking the time to write back to us. We love passing along this kind of feedback to the doctors who work with us on this forum.] 

I like it...You can tell some of the doctors have a good disposition just in the way they answer a question, ie, several paragraphs, not in a condescending tone, cordial... It helps if a doctor is NOT like Dr House (the doctor from the former TV show that had the world’s worst personality)... [Editor’s Note: Thanks for the chuckle.]

        Thank you for your assistance.

This was very helpful. If I were closer I would be right in for follow up care. I hope my condition does not worsen so as to need Texas Heart in the future. But it is always a possibility...thanks. 

I was just checking out your service. 2nd opinion. Just, thank you. We have limited access in [our] rural area [to this kind of medical information].   

Didn't answer with any information that I did not know as a health care professional, but thanks!

Easy access due to distance. I wish there could have been a follow up to inquire into research possibilities -- especially your stem cell program for heart. [Editor's note: We hope you will continue to explore beyond Ask a Heart Doctor to learn more about our research progress at THI.]   

Basically serves as a 2nd opinion. I wouldn't do this INSTEAD of seeing doctor in person. It does help me feel more confident in my cardiologist's words. Would like thank Dr Cooley for his answer ... what a treat to see his name on the response!  He trained the doctor who replaced my father's aortic valve back in the early 80s; also, as one of Jehovah's Witnesses am well aware of the medical benefits we enjoy due to Dr Cooley's work. A heartfelt thank you, Sir! [Editor's note: Doctors really appreciate hearing from former patients!]   

        In my case I appreciated the expertise. I think this is a great service.

Excellent service. You are providing, with some limitations, better services than most physicians are willing to provide in my community even when we paid for such services. Excellent WORK.  

I think it's fantastic to be able to ask a question you couldn't get an answer to elsewhere and receive a considered professional response. Disadvantage is cannot ask follow-up question. 

Answer was vague and very short, said to see my doc. I thought this might be like a second opinion, or at least food for thought. It was nothing that I could take back to my doctor. These doctors are not interested enough in truly trying to be of assistance. [Editor's note: Thank you for your honest feedback. Sometimes there is not enough information given to guide the response. We hope you'll give us another try.]   

        Very satisfied, thank you.

Thanks very much for answering my question. I was not expecting it be answered. I think the Q&A section is very interesting, and it is good to read through other people's questions. I would not pay for this service because it cannot replace the normal doctor/patient relationship, and because the advice given is not confidential. However, it is an excellent educational tool, and I appreciate the time and thought that the participating doctors put in. It is also great advertising and raises the profile of your hospital.  

Doctor responded in only 3 days, excellent and direct to the point answers. Thank you.

My question was about antibiotic cover and mechanical heart valves, which is very contentious here in the UK.  Appreciated the discussion. 

Answered in a timely manner and gave an exact answer. It's great to get advice from a hospital that ranks so high in cardiology.  I have researched many heart hospitals over the course of 90 days. I wish that my second opinion could have been with you guys, but unfortunately my insurance didn't cover there. Thanks so much for the advice!! 

For a service like this to work, it almost has to be a live chat approach in this Web2.0 arena, as people are used to rapid-fire immediacy a click away...That's pricey and hard to be accurate. If it's about a 'value add' (specific patient concern/answered by specific doctor) that's a different story. This was a blind test on a generic Q which could've been googled... [Editor's note: Good observations! Our Ask a Heart Doctor forum is intended to extend our educational mission, rather than attempt to provide comprehensive individualized answers. In fact, about half of the submittals are handled directly by our patient liaisons from the Heart Information Center. We love it when web searchers find one of our topics or one of our Ask a Heart Doctor responses.]

I am so pleased you answered my question, so promptly. Thanks! Sometimes some questions sound so stupid, you are reluctant to ask.  

Thank you very much for responding to my question regarding an enlarged heart. I am now taking BP meds. I have to see my Dr. again in one month. Again, thank you so much!! [Editor's note: We're glad the forum encouraged you to work closely with your doctor.]

Hopefully this site will continue to answer questions free, thank you. 

It's ok, but I did not get the "specific" answer I was looking for, just a sort of generic answer... He did say the same things as my Cardiologist, but my Cardio. went into more detail... 

How I can attach all my heart tests to have a 2nd opinion?? [Editor's note: That level of detail is beyond the scope of this forum but we do encourage you to ask your doctor to explain your results and then get a 2nd opinion if you choose.] 

I just want to thank you for helping me to know what things mean. I am so confused and you can't talk with your own Dr. or your heart specialist or his nurse on an on-call basis. It takes a lot of red tape. Thanks again. This is a blessing. [Editor's note: We hope our responses encourage and open up communications with your health care team. Our motto is "Informed patients make better patients," so we're glad we're helping you.]  

I think it is a good supplemental resource. I can ask follow up questions but during my appointment, I don't have all of the data and I can't always remember what I wanted to ask until I get home, then I have to wait until my next appointment. THE SERVICE IS GREAT. Keep up the good work.

Great for second opinion.

The Web site is an invaluable community service. Thank you so much for making it available.  Using this Web site and going to a doctor's office complement each other--the Web site is a trustworthy resource that helps patients become well-informed, so that they can 1) seek appropriate care in a timely manner, 2) advocate effectively for themselves or their loved ones, and 3) partner effectively with their doctors.  [Editor's note: Thank you for stating our exact mission so effectively.]      

It was confirmation of what I had expected would be the answer, so it relieved me of having to continually think about the possibility of alternatives.

Since I don't personally know any heart doctors other than my own, I merely wanted to see if there were other opinions out there. His matched my doctor, and that was affirming.

This service is innovative and worthwhile.  By utilizing the service patients can get a world class opinion rather than get worked up over a bad case of googling. 

Thank you . . . it's not always easy to talk to Doctors.

I wasn't satisfied by the answer; I needed more information. [Editor's note: We understand and appreciate how hard it is to provide every individual a full and appropriate answer. A couple of suggestions: search the Ask a Heart Doctor site for previous responses to questions on your subject and try the main Heart Information Center site for topics related to your question. Thanks for the feedback.]

Thank you for the peace of mind you have provided me and my family.

The service is great. I was looking for a straight answer from a doctor, and I got the answer. I already asked the same question and doctors and nurses . . . didn't know the answer and instead of finding the answer, they just recommended to my husband to avoid the MRI, and do the operation to solve the problem of his knee. He already had 3 operations in the last 12 months and . . . the problem is not fixed yet. Thank you.

Another cardiologist's opinion is helpful - appreciate your offering this service.

I really appreciate this site. It was very helpful, I was making myself paranoid reading various info on the internet. I feel more relaxed and comfortable with my family practice doctor's course of action and feel I can go into my next visit more informed. Thank you very much.

Great service, especially as it is so easy to access. Thank you so much for advice.

Thanks for being available for people from all over the world!

The service was excellent! However, I forgot to tell Dr. that I do take meds at night also. Thanks for your help.  [Editor's note:  It helps to make a few notes before a doctor visit to remind ourselves about things to mention and things to ask.] 


We invite you to provide feedback to help us improve our service by using the form provided.

See also on this site:


Updated July 2013

Marathon Oil Corporation providing support for Ask a Texas Heart Institute Doctor.Thanks to our friends at Marathon Oil
Corporation for supporting this program.
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Texas Heart Institute Heart Information Center
Through this community outreach program, staff members of the Texas Heart Institute (THI) provide educational information related to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cardiovascular disease. It is not the intention of THI to provide specific medical advice, but rather to provide users with information to better understand their health and their diagnosed disorders. Specific medical advice will not be provided and THI urges you to visit a qualified physician for diagnosis and for answers to your questions.
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