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Journalists' screening bias piece on The Daily Beast

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I’m pleased to be able to contribute a piece for The Daily Beast on the rash of stories that fail to tell the whole story about screening tests. Daily Beast.png

I write in that piece:

“A few simple reminders could guide journalists and the public:

* Newer isn’t always better.
* More isn’t always better.
* Screening doesn’t make sense for everyone.
* Many screening tests do good; many also do harm.

Such stories stoke the fears of the “worried well.” They raise undue demand for unproven technologies. They raise unrealistic expectations of what screening–and health care–can achieve.

And they overlook evidence, harms and costs.

Trudy Lieberman wrote a column for the Columbia Journalism Review asking if journalists deserve some of the blame for the high cost of health care when they write stories like this.

We spend more on health care than any other country on the globe, yet we have outcomes for some conditions that are worse than developing countries. And we still have more than 40-million neighbors who are uninsured.

That might be a better reference point for a discussion on health care reform and health policy than what we get from stories that make us all think that we should be screened because we all have something silent lurking inside us that should be found and treated.”

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