Health News Review
  • May 28 2013

    5 shared decision-making articles in JAMA Internal Medicine receive little attention

    “Patient communication has room to grow,” reported Reuters Health.  And so does journalism about shared decision-making or patient-centered care – subject of four papers and an editorial in this week’s JAMA Internal Medicine. How Patient Centered Are Medical Decisions? Results of a National Survey “Respondents reported much more discussion of the pros than the cons [...]

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  • Apr 25 2013

    Two noteworthy breast cancer stories: “The Feel-Good War” and guidelines didn’t change practice

    The New York Times Sunday magazine piece, “Our Feel-Good War on Breast Cancer,” is by Peggy Orenstein who begins: “I used to believe that a mammogram saved my life. I even wrote that in the pages of this magazine. It was 1996, and I had just turned 35 when my doctor sent me for an [...]

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  • Mar 12 2013

    Health care journalists head to Boston

    I’ll be in Boston this week to co-lead a workshop at the Association of Health Care Journalists (AHCJ) annual conference (12:45 pm, Thursday) on how to improve news coverage of medical studies and research. This is, I think, the 6th such workshop I’ve been involved in at AHCJ annual conferences through the years.     [...]

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  • Feb 13 2013

    Some stuff you may not want to hear about why your doctor chooses certain drugs

    Drug companies clearly have a lot riding on understanding doctors’ prescribing behavior and how they assign trust to brands and to specific drugs. A Harris Poll of physicians found that: “…when it comes to driving trust, emotional connection, relationships with sales representatives, and perceptions of the pharmaceutical company or companies backing the product can be [...]

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  • Feb 6 2013

    An update on how we die in the U.S.

    My mother died last summer one month after being diagnosed with an ugly stomach cancer.  The oncologist she saw only once handled the discussion of options masterfully.  My mom chose no further explorations, no treatment beyond pain control, and spent her last month at home, with hospice care and with up to 15 helping family [...]

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  • Jan 22 2013

    UK citizen’s jury advises on communication about the benefits and harms of breast screening

    Two months ago, I read on the BMJ website “Citizens’ jury disagrees over whether screening leaflet should put reassurance before accuracy.” I’ve been following some of the controversies in the British National Health Service’s breast screening program for some time. An example here. I asked Angela Coulter, PhD, to write a guest blog post about [...]

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  • Jan 15 2013

    Doctors who order PSA blood test without discussing it with patients

    A new analysis published in the Annals of Family Medicine,”Primary Care Physicians’ Use of an Informed Decision-Making Process for Prostate Cancer Screening,” found that 24% of primary care physicians who responded to a survey said they ordered screening without discussing it with patients. How’s that for shared decision-making? Fewer than 48% of those surveyed said [...]

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  • Jan 11 2013

    Homer Simpson, Oncologists, Patients & Math

    2nd time this week I’ve linked to a Peter Ubel blog post.  This one was as irresistible as a doughut is to Homer Simpson. And why is this a shared decision-making issue?  Ubel writes: “Why all this talk about math with patients?  Shouldn’t all this number stuff be handled by physicians?  Shouldn’t chemotherapy decisions be [...]

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  • Jan 8 2013

    Dr. Peter Ubel asks: Why No Uproar Over Ovarian Cancer Screening Guidelines?

    Peter Ubel, M.D. is a physician and behavioral scientist at Duke University, and the author of Critical Decisions: How You and Your Doctor Can Make the Right Medical Choices Together. I don’t know how I missed his November blog post that asked the question above, but I now know that it appeared on his own [...]

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  • Jan 1 2013

    NPR on breast cancer – what we learned in 2012

    Read or listen to Richard Knox’s piece. Among several strong elements in his story, he profiles Shannon Brownlee’s decision to stop having mammograms: Health writer Shannon Brownlee of the New America Foundation says the issue is a prime example of what she calls American medicine’s tendency to overdiagnose and overtreat disease. She’s the author of [...]

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