Health News Review
  • Aug 8 2014

    Weekending confusion: Playing the “Price is Right” with MRI….and CNN flunks geography

    The terrific Clear Health Costs project reports early results from their new California crowdsourcing project on MRI prices. How’s this for a narrow price range: $255 <———> $2,925. If that has you confused, how about these maps from CNN:   If Nigeria and Hong Kong don’t appear as above on your maps, the problem is [...]

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  • Aug 5 2014

    The cost of cowboy doctors…debate over diet drugs…gems in JAMA Internal Medicine

    Imagine a Dartmouth economics prof giving a talk in Texas about the “cowboy doctor problem.” Whoa, Nelly, writes Carey Goldberg on the WBUR Boston CommonHealth blog. Jonathan Skinner, the Dartmouth prof, says “cowboy doctors were associated with nearly 60 percent greater spending among patients near the end of life.” A paper Skinner co-authored for the [...]

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  • Jul 22 2014

    Robotic roundup: Useful? Or little clinical value?…”robotic invasion”…outpaces evidence

    Here’s another of our periodic roundups of robotic surgery news, some of which doesn’t get much attention in the mainstream news media. Forbes has hosted a little back-and-forth about robotic surgery in recent weeks.  First, Robert Pearl, MD, chief executive of the Permanente Medical Group, included a discussion of robotic surgery in his piece, “America’s [...]

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  • Jul 11 2014

    One physician’s story: An Egregious Example of Ordering Unnecessary Tests

    Harriet Hall writes on the Science-Based Medicine website about a 21-year old man seeing a board-certified family physician for a routine physical.  Excerpt: This young man is healthy, has no complaints, has no past history of any significant health problems and no family history of any disease. The patient just asked for a routine physical [...]

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  • Jan 9 2014

    Newspaper cheerleading for local medical device company on page 1

    I’ve documented a track record in my local Star Tribune newspaper of cheerleading for local medical device companies.  This undoubtedly happens across the US in other local papers but I live in Minnesota and we have a lot of medical device companies here and this is what I see most often. And today the paper [...]

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  • Jan 6 2014

    Survey finds few orthopedic surgeons know the costs of the devices they implant

    Any time an orthopedic surgeon goes into an operating room, there may be tens of thousands of dollars of devices under consideration for his/her use. Wouldn’t it be nice if that surgeon knew how much the stuff cost? A paper in Health Affairs, written by orthopedic surgeons, reports on a survey of 503 orthopedic attending [...]

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  • Nov 4 2013

    The Economics & Politics of Drugs for Mild Hypertension

    Dr. David Cundiff was co-author of the Cochrane systematic review, “Pharmacotherapy for Mild Hypertension.”  The following is an unsolicited guest blog post by Dr. Cundiff. —————————- The Cochrane Collaboration’s Hypertension Group published a systematic review of drug treatment for mild hypertension in August 2012 showing no evidence that drugs benefit patients while about 11% have [...]

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  • Oct 4 2013

    Take the visual quiz: Is it a hotel or a hospital?

    Catching up on this gem from two weeks ago:  the New York Times analysis, “Is This a Hospital or a Hotel?” Excerpt: “American hospitals are looking less and less like their more utilitarian counterparts in Europe, where the average hospital charges per day are often less than a quarter of those in the United States, [...]

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  • Sep 6 2013

    Insurers doing what feds haven’t in refusing to pay for proton beam therapy

    The Los Angeles Times reports, “Blue Shield of California to curb coverage of pricey cancer therapy.” “As hospitals race to offer the latest in high-tech care, a major California health insurer is pushing back and refusing to pay for some of the more expensive and controversial cancer treatments. Blue Shield of California is taking on [...]

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  • Jul 30 2013

    If you have low back pain, chances are increasing that you won’t be treated based on best evidence

    That’s the strong suggestion of a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, “Worsening Trends in the Management and Treatment of Back Pain.” It concludes: “Despite numerous published national guidelines, management of routine back pain increasingly has relied on advanced diagnostic imaging, referrals to other physicians, and use of narcotics, with a concomitant decrease in (nonsteroidal [...]

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