Note to our followers: Our nearly 13-year run of daily publication of new content on HealthNewsReview.org came to a close at the end of 2018. Publisher Gary Schwitzer and other contributors may post new articles periodically. But all of the 6,000+ articles we have published contain lessons to help you improve your critical thinking about health care interventions. And those will be still be alive on the site for a couple of years.
5/21/2019

What you need to know about hospitals nationwide promoting free hernia screenings

The more you screen, the more you find.  And the more you find, the more you find that is not really something you needed to — or wanted to — find.  That’s true with just about any health screening test. And you can include hernia screening.  Yes, hernia screening, which has become a big-time target […]

5/17/2019

Tone deaf promotion of very early research on smartphone app for kids’ ear fluid

STAT does some great stuff.  And some clunkers.  They get enough praise for the great stuff, but not enough scrutiny of the clunkers.  This is one such example. A story based on very preliminary research touted the early work in very promotional tones. A smartphone app could help diagnose ear infections more accurately — and […]

5/16/2019

NY Times was blind to flaws in “Statins May Cut Glaucoma Risk” story

Let me count the ways in which I am moved to write about another unwell piece in the New York Times Well section – “Statins May Cut Glaucoma Risk.”  Let’s begin with the first line:  “More good news about cholesterol-lowering statin drugs.” No, it’s not good news.  There’s no “take it to the bank” definitive […]

5/7/2019

What you need to know about claims of health care ‘firsts’

Spot the word “first” in a headline and you might assume a major milestone has been reached. Think first person on the moon, first woman on the Supreme Court. But in health care news, things heralded for being first might not amount to a clear advance for patients. Take two recent FDA announcements that made […]

12/21/2018

5 quick PR tricks to cover up a lack of real health care news

As all researchers know, science is a grinding parade of failure and dead ends. But as we’ve often written, news release writers sometimes seem hell-bent on making the public believe otherwise. Like expert makeup artists, they can add sparkle to lackluster findings, mask blemishes in study designs, and smooth over unimpressive data. One thing I […]

12/21/2018

As renewed debate over health care reform begins to simmer in Washington, can journalists give the topic the attention it needs?

Dec. 14th’s lower court ruling that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is unconstitutional has again thrust health care back on the national agenda. It also gives journalists a chance to redeem themselves from what I have argued has been poor news coverage that helped fuel the public backlash against the law from the beginning. A lot […]

2 12/20/2018

A final HealthNewsReview.org report card from 3,200+ systematic reviews of health care news stories & PR releases

In 2005, as I began building HealthNewsReview.org, I got permission from Dr. David Henry of the Media Doctor Australia project to adopt their news story review criteria. In the ensuing 13 years, no one has ever placed in front of me a solid, specific suggestion for a better set of criteria for reviewing stories about […]

12/19/2018

For both health care and health care journalism, there’s something missing in the middle

In 2015, a few months before I started working at HealthNewsReview.org, Cosmopolitan magazine published my article, “Why are so many American women dying in childbirth?” Tired of women getting blamed for the problem, I used my personal story to explore the fissures in U.S. maternal health care: At the hospital where I gave birth, and […]

1 12/18/2018

6 reasons journalists should just say no to Mayo Clinic’s latest journalism ‘residency’ program

Craving a trip to Florida in February? If you’re a journalist, the Mayo Clinic has you covered. Once again Mayo is extending an offer to educate health care journalists, this time with what it’s calling a “residency” scheduled for Feb. 24-28 at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla. It’s described as “a behind-the-scenes, in-depth look […]

8 12/17/2018

Reflections on a 45-year career and 13 years leading HealthNewsReview.org

In this, our final week of daily publishing as we wind down operations due to a loss of sufficient funding, I want to share some observations after a 45-year career in health care journalism, 13 of which were the pinnacle for me as Publisher of this website. Earlier this year, after Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s “surprise” primary election […]

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