Health News Review
  • Jan 27 2015

    Knee/hip surgery cost variability news would help more if it provided a link to the Blue Cross Blue Shield report

    The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association recently published a report “A Study of Cost Variations for Knee and Hip Replacement Surgeries in the U.S. ,” that reported these key findings: Some hospitals across the U.S. charge tens of thousands of dollars more than others for the same medical procedures, even within the same metropolitan market. [...]

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  • Jan 20 2015

    “Potential biomarker that could predict”? – caveats about psychiatric brain imaging & blogging about it

    The following is a guest blog post by Susan Molchan, MD.  Dr. Molchan is a psychiatrist in practice in Bethesda, Maryland. She also trained in nuclear medicine and did PET research at the National Institute of Mental Health, and worked as the program director for Biomarkers, Diagnosis, and Alzheimer’s Disease at the National Institute on [...]

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  • Nov 24 2014

    “Health care consumers in the dark” – no kidding

    That headline appeared in the Minneapolis Star Tribune print edition yesterday. The focus of the article was how difficult it is to obtain medical cost data despite a state law and other efforts to increase transparency. The same newspaper had a brief column the previous day about open enrollment season for workplace medical benefits, but [...]

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  • 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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