Health News Review
  • Apr 9 2013

    Urology journal publishes papers with questions about robots and proton beam therapy

    Probably the two most frequent subjects on this blog regarding the proliferation of new medical technologies are proton beam radiation therapy and robotic surgery.  Since this blog focuses on media messages about health care interventions, we generally focus on the marketing claims made for these technologies. The latest edition of the journal Current Urology Reports [...]

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  • Mar 28 2013

    More robots, more uses, more questions

    Paul Levy, former hospital CEO, on his Not Running a Hospital blog, writes, “More robots, more questions.” The topic this time:  robotic partial knee replacement surgery.  In it, he links to the BioLogic Equity Research site, and its article, “Anatomy of a Deceptive Direct to Consumer Robotic Surgery Marketing Campaign.” Then, days later, Levy blogged, [...]

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  • Mar 26 2013

    Robotic surgery safety/marketing concerns in Boston Globe & NY Times stories

    The Boston Globe reports that: Reports of complications from robot-assisted surgery are rising, according to Massachusetts health officials who sent hospitals an “advisory” letter last week alerting them about their safety concerns. In some cases, it appears that doctors have used the aggressively marketed robots to perform hysterectomies and colorectal operations that were too complex [...]

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  • Mar 16 2013

    Ob-Gyns’ statement on robotic hysterectomy

    The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists released a statement on robotic surgery this week that concluded: Aggressive direct-to-consumer marketing of the latest medical technologies may mislead the public into believing that they are the best choice. Our patients deserve and need factual information about all of their treatment options, including costs, so that they [...]

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  • Mar 12 2013

    Another bad example of reporting on robotic surgery

    The surgeon who blogs and tweets as The Skeptical Scalpel (@Skepticscalpel) started my day with a Tweet that read: Houston Chronicle’s hard-hitting exposé on robotic surgery. You have to know his work and his style to know that he was being sarcastic about “hard hitting exposé.” The headline of the piece is: Advances in [...]

  • Jan 29 2013

    Barron’s piece on how the robot has reigned (so far) on Wall Street

    A piece in Barron’s, “Robots in Search of Added Employment,” offers a good update on the proliferation of daVinci robotic surgical systems.  From the piece: No other big health-care company is putting up (earnings) numbers like (theirs). The robot was used last year in about 450,000 surgeries of various kinds around the world. The US [...]

  • Jan 25 2013

    Week-ending roundup of health care news gems you may have missed

    Flu Follies:  CNN’s Piers Morgan Falls Ill Days After Getting Flu Shot On The Air From Dr. Oz. Should Journalists Cite Material from Predatory Journals? – Scholarly Open Access blog. Eve Harris, who recently took a fulltime job as a patient navigator at UCSF,  published her “coming out” piece, as she calls it -  “Skin [...]

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  • 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 [...]

  • Dec 21 2012

    Texas-sized Battlefield Breakthrough hype by Dallas radio station – proton & robots

    New technologies such as proton beam radiation therapy and robotic surgery clearly offer some potential benefits to some patients (and to some health care providers who purchase these expensive technologies).  That is not in question.  What we write about on this site are the messages that the public may receive only about potential benefits of [...]

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  • Dec 19 2012

    A new holiday tradition: See Santa & surgical toyland in the mall

    We wrote about this one year ago, “Come to the mall to sit on Santa’s lap…or play with his robotic surgery system.” So, I guess, two years running makes a tradition. That was about some New Jersey doctors playing with their robot at a New Jersey mall.  It must have been a big hit for [...]

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