Profile of HealthNewsReview.org on Journal of Participatory Medicine

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e-patient Dave DeBronkart published a review/profile of our project on the website of the JOPM. Excerpts:

“Why would someone interested in participatory medicine want to know about this? Learning to decode news articles about health and health care is essential to being a responsible driver of one’s health. It is impossible to act responsibly without good information. Too often the health stories we read have been poorly analyzed and reported on by today’s time-pressured reporters, as Schwitzer’s reviews make clear. The reviews and methodology presented on this site can help patients bring better quality information to the care relationship with their clinicians, and help all parties make better informed decisions.

Careful scrutiny of health news can be a potent enabler of participatory medicine because of the radical differences in focus between the patient, who must care for only their own illnesses and conditions, and the clinician, who must know about and manage many.

We consumers can help physicians stay informed about our health concerns by scouting or digging for relevant articles. Chances are we are not going to search first in the scientific literature, but rather in the news media. For us, this is where quality matters. We depend on accurate representation of new scientific findings by journalists: Is the finding new? How robust is it? At what point in the development process is the drug or treatment approach? Schwitzer’s team encourages better health news reporting by publicly critiquing the work of specific journalists while at the same time demonstrating to the public the criteria that each of us should apply in our own reading of the news. Because their criteria are presented in lay terms, they enable consumer participation in health decision making.”

Thanks to Dave and to the Journal for their interest in and support of our project and its goals.

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