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Screen, screen, screen; newspaper keeps area business happy

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Gary Schwitzer is founder and publisher of HealthNewsReview.org.  He tweets as @garyschwitzer.

Usually when something Texan tries to move into Oklahoma, there’s a great deal of skepticism. But that’s on the sports page.

On the business page of The Oklahoman, a recent health news story was treated like free advertising for a Texas company now bringing its mobile health screening services to Oklahoma. Excerpts:

Austin-based HealthYes! uses the latest equipment and techniques to screen for heart disease, stroke, abdominal aortic aneurysm, peripheral artery disease, diabetes, liver disease and osteoporosis,(said the company president).

“Our goal is to educate people to take a proactive approach to their health care,” he said. “So many people don’t get these tests because they have no symptoms.”

HealthYes! fills a niche in the preventive-care arena, he said. “There’s a real need out there.”

Another classic example of a business section failing to exercise any tough journalism on a health news story – and of a news organization failing to realize that there can be harms from screening that is done outside the boundaries of evidence.

The story only quoted the company president – who, of course, sees a “real need” and a “niche.”

But there isn’t one quote with a doctor who could raise questions about what evidence there is to support population-wide, drive-around-screening offerings for “heart disease, stroke, abdominal aortic aneurysm, peripheral artery disease, liver disease and osteoporosis.”

If you’re scoring at home:

Free advertising 1,
Journalism 0

Or

Business Interests 1,
Consumers 0

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Tom Farrell

February 22, 2010 at 3:34 pm

And the next one up in my G. Reader, something from MedPage:
Unnecessary Tests Drive Up Cost of Healthcare
By Kristina Fiore, Staff Writer, MedPage Today
Published: February 22, 2010
More than a quarter of American healthcare dollars are spent on unnecessary tests that physicians order so they won’t get sued, according to the results of a new Gallup poll…
http://www.medpagetoday.com/PublicHealthPolicy/HealthPolicy/18620