Health News Review
  • Jan 3 2013

    Cyberknife ads – one example of increasing excess of hospital marketing

    We’ve been following claims for Cyberknife “knife-less surgery” for a long time.  See search results from our blog. We’ve seen billboards promoting it in the metropolitan health care market we live in.   And big East Coast medical centers promoting it at subway stops. But only recently did we start noticing many TV commercials promoting the technology, which was described recently in this way: Rohit Inamdar, a seni…

  • Aug 22 2013

    Selling the Cyberknife on WCCO’s CBS HealthWatch

    I’m watching local news on my local CBS affiliate, WCCO, the other night. And I wake up from the daze of crime and creampuff stories to see that there’s a story about the Cyberknife “radiosurgery” system at a local health care provider, HealthEast. I see brief clips with two satisfied patients, an interview with a HealthEast physician, and hear an unquestioning voiceover about the benefits of Cyberknife.  Hmm, I thought….

  • Jul 22 2011

    Cyberknife for prostate cancer “still developing and can’t stand on its feet”

    We need more stories that raise questions about new technologies. Cardiac electrophysiologist Wes Fisher tweeted this week about a Chicago Sun Times story that he said was a promo piece for ablation for atrial fibrillation but failed to discuss the risks of the procedure. We’ve blogged twice this week about more questions about the explosion in the use of robotic prostatectomy and another journalist pointed out fawning coverage of the te…

  • Aug 6 2009

    Cyberknife insurance coverage in question – a health policy case study

    We salute the Philadelphia Inquirer and reporter Stacey Burling for a terrific piece, “Debate surrounds new prostate cancer treatment.” It got a rare five-star (top score) rating on Excerpts of the review: This was an excellent, provocative exploration of some of the critical issues involving the tension between treatment options, payment responsibility, patient choice, and evidence on risks and benefits. T…

  • Apr 17 2012

    Fox News’ robotic surgeon medical news contributor

    Fox News uses Dr. David Samadi, a New York urologist and “Chief of Robotics” at his NY hospital, as a “medical contributor.”  We’ve seen and heard him promote his pet approaches in the past.  He did it again this past Sunday, touting his own favorite approach over another approach known as the Cyberknife, along with sidekick physician medical news contributor Dr. Marc Siegel. I asked one of our medical editors, Dr…

  • Aug 12 2011

    Medical center spends $7m on new device, then gets free advertising from local TV news

    Believe me, I empathize with a local TV news reporter who is a general assignment reporter asked to cover crime today, courts tomorrow, then an announcement by a local medical center on the next day. Here’s what happens as a result. A Chattanooga medical center invites media in to hear about its $7 million robotic Cyberknife, and local TV dutifully showed up for the media high-tech lovefest. Excerpts from the story (video below): • R…

  • Mar 23 2010

    How not to cover new medical technologies in an era of health care reform

    Regardless the shape and impact of health care reform legislation, how new health care technologies are communicated to the American public is a major issue. And today a reader sent me a new example of how journalism must improve. The Asbury Park (NJ) Press reports on a local medical center trumpeting its use of two technologies to treat lung cancer – Cyberknife and Super D. The story reads like a hospital news release, using phrases suc…

  • Nov 11 2014

    Pitt urologist peaved by prostate CA ads in NY Times & New Yorker

    … “CyberKnife is the biggest advance in prostate cancer treatment in a decade,” Davies called it “one of the most egregious examples of poor copy and obvious deceptive statements. Please note: I have written about Cyberknife claims many times – some in news stories (good and bad) and some in ads. The link takes you to search results showing 12 pieces I’ve written touching on Cytberknife in recent years. The ad in The New Y…

  • Jan 10 2012

    Another sponsored health news issue: retired columnist gets column back – now paid by health care industry

    …l, for example, untold stories of overdiagnosis and overtreatment be told in this health care provider-sponsored column? While the health care provider boasts on its website, “We were the first in the state to bring you CyberKnife and the first in the Lowcountry to offer the da Vinci robot,” will the column explore some of the growing questions about some of the non-evidence-based proliferation of such technologies? (An example of Cyb…

  • Mar 12 2012

    2 newspaper stories on 2 different screening issues: one could learn from the other

    …ad of robotic prostatectomy are unclear, given the lack of randomized trials and few comparative studies, given that it’s more expensive and appears to have a long learning curve to achieve optimal outcomes. It also discusses Cyberknife, but doesn’t mention perspectives like those in a recent Radiology Today story, wherein a scientist said the clinical evidence on the use of the CyberKnife for prostate cancer is “a little early … and a litt…

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