Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The uninsured and Emergency Department utilization

From the JAMA article:
Available data do not support assumptions that uninsured patients are a primary cause of ED overcrowding, present with less acute conditions than insured patients, or seek ED care primarily for convenience.
Click here to access the abstract. Senators McCain and Obama each have free-text articles on their respective health care plans published in this October 22/29, 2008 issue of JAMA.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Health care solution contest announced!

Win $10 million dollars! From the AP article:
It may not involve rocket science, but a new X Prize Foundation competition for health care reform could pose the institute's most daunting challenge yet.

The California-based foundation, which helped launch the first private manned space flight in 2004, is teaming with the insurer WellPoint Inc. to try to fix the U.S. health care system.

The companies have announced an open competition to devise solutions that improve health care cost and quality, and they're dangling a prize of at least $10 million for the winner.
Click here to access.

Friday, October 10, 2008

"The State of Health Care Quality"

Check out NCQA's report; click here to access.

Culture and cancer

Check out the Wall Street Journal article "In Some Cultures, Cancer Stirs Shame"; an excerpt:
In Mrs. Wong's native China, people often keep illnesses like cancer a secret. That tradition continues even here in America, where her family settled in the 1950s. Years ago, Mrs. Wong's infant daughter developed a brain tumor and her own mother insisted she tell no one. When the baby died, the grandmother tried to dissuade Mrs. Wong from attending the funeral, so great was the stigma.
Click here to access; it was published on October 4th (sub. req.).

Thursday, October 09, 2008

New guidelines to reduce side effects of NSAIDs

From the Washington Post article:
Three leading medical associations have created guidelines to help heart disease patients cut their risk of ulcers and gastrointestinal bleeding from the condition's most common treatments -- antiplatelets and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin.

The American College of Cardiology, the American College of Gastroenterology and the American Heart Association guidelines call on doctors to better assess the patient's risk factors before treatment starts.
Click here to access.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Manipulation of data?

From the New York Times article:
Pfizer’s tactics included delaying the publication of studies that had found no evidence the drug worked for some other disorders, “spinning” negative data to place it in a more positive light, and bundling negative findings with positive studies to neutralize the results, according to written reports by the experts, who analyzed the documents at the request of the plaintiffs’ lawyers.

One of the experts who reviewed the documents, Dr. Kay Dickersin of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, concluded that the Pfizer documents spell out “a publication strategy meant to convince physicians of Neurontin’s effectiveness and misrepresent or suppress negative findings.”

Pfizer issued a statement Tuesday denying that it had manipulated Neurontin data, saying “study results are reported by Pfizer in an objective, accurate, balanced and complete manner, with a discussion of the strengths and limitations of the study, and are reported regardless of the outcome of the study or the country in which the study was conducted.”
Click here to read the NYT article.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Another psychiatrist in the headlines

From the New York Times article:
One of the nation’s most influential psychiatrists earned more than $2.8 million in consulting arrangements with drug makers between 2000 and 2007, failed to report at least $1.2 million of this income to his university, and violated federal research rules, according to documents provided to Congressional investigators.
Click here to access.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

A systems approach...

Check out the open access article "Physician attitude toward depression care interventions: implications for implementation of quality improvement initiatives"; click here to access.