The story addressed most of our criteria, but we felt it could have been improved a bit by even brief mention of the cost impact of implementing such a system, and a little more context on the Archimedes system and related research.
Overall, though, good job.
Finding more cost effective and more efficient means of treating people with high blood pressure has great potential for health policy – as does the broader approach of using risk calculators in electronic medical records.
Couldn’t Dr. Eddy have commented on the projected cost of implementing his idea? And certainly the projected cost saving impact of his Archimedes system has been the focus of past news coverage. So even a line about cost impact would have been appreciated.
Mixed bag here, but we’ll give the story the benefit of the doubt.
The benefits from the use of models to better fit treatment recommendations were described as relative improvements rather than absolute benefits. That’s how the data were described in the abstract of the paper reported on; the predicted numbers were contained within the body of the article. Given the size of the population in question, we can look the other way on the use of relative risk reduction figures.
And, as already noted, the story injected some caution about real world benefits by quoting an independent expert:
We don’t know what the harms would be of the idealized “tailored medicine” approach described in the piece.
The story did an adequate job explaining how the analysis was done. And, through the words of an independent expert (author of an editorial accompanying the journal article), it injected some real-world cautions:
The story did not engage in disease mongering.
The comments from the author of the editorial that accompanied the journal article were helpful.
The entire focus of the story was a comparison of a “tailored medicine” approach to existing guidelines for treatment of high blood pressure.
It would have been interesting to explore whether this is the only model for tailoring clinical information to arrive at better clinical outcomes or whether there are other models available for this purpose.
The story could have been more explicit about the availability – or lack thereof – of the computerized risk calculator in question.
However, a reader should be able to deduce from the following hints that the idea is not in widespread use:
The story could have done a better job providing even a brief background on the Archimedes system and past reports about this or related research. A reader might think this was the very first news about this approach.
It’s clear that the story did not rely solely on a news release.