Health media watchdog Gary Schwitzer takes a look at their overhyped, non-critical coverage of prostate cancer therapy and being a tool for drug company propaganda.

Negative news does not garner ratings, which is why national health reporting needs to be viewed with a skeptical eye.

Vytorin and cancer

The link suggested in a recent study did not reach statistical significance.

But that did not prevent politicians using the speculation to their advantage.

Medicare is wading into dangerous territory here. Instead of further scrutinizing the current conditions on the no-pay list, they're aggressively expanding it.

Policy makers should be aware of the unintended consequences of certain pay for performance measures.

A poorly thought-out no-pay list will lead to similar circumstances, paradoxically increasing costs and patient harm:

For example, even with the best treatment, blood clots remain relatively common in ...

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Staying human

Sage advice: "I encourage all medical students to set some non-academic goals for their medical school years. I knew students who ran marathons, raised families, volunteered for their churches. Non-academic personal goals are important in medical school; they help keep you human."

I second that. It is very easy to become engulfed by medical training. Having a non-academic outlet is essential. This is especially true ...

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The following is a reader take by The Happy Hospitalist.

All for one and none for all. That is the state of the current government program called Medicare. The entitlement program that threatens the financial security of our nation. On March 25, 2008 the Boards of Trustees released their Annual Report of the Federal Hospital Insurance and Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Funds. ...

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Medical blogs are featured in the LA Times. This blog, along with GruntDoc, Dr. RW and OB/Gyn Kenobi were linked and mentioned.

The piece talks about Grand Rounds, and re-iterates the familiar concerns about patient privacy and product endorsement.

As the medical blogosphere, or "new media medicine" (thanks, Dr. A), continues to grow, there will be controversy on how to deal with these ...

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In the Clinic - Dr. Larry Sperling, MD, Discusses the Use of the Stethoscope
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Innovative idea from Boston's mayor. Subsidized housing as a means to lure primary care physicians into the city.

Similar forward-thinking ideas from our politicians are needed.

It looks like it.

Maggie Mahar is right, voters are powerful and can offset the lobbying force:

Voters still have tremendous power. And as we head toward Medicare reform -- and eventually toward national health reform"”legislators are going to have to weigh the power of the vote against the power of the lobbyists' dollar.
Physicians need to align themselves with the voters, as they did with seniors in passing the recent Medicare bill.


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OR boucebacks

Knowing when to take a patient back to surgery can save their life.

A grim future lies ahead for medicine: "How many doctors are telling their children to go into medicine? How many doctors are taking courses to administer Botox, eliminate varicose veins, or perform other cosmetic services not covered by insurance? How many tests are being ordered as part of defensive medicine because of fear of a malpractice suit? How come the number of uninsured or poorly insured persons are increasing at ...

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A neurosurgeon testifies to the House how difficult it is to adopt electronic records:

It took about 1,000 hours to set up the system and a year to purchase and configure the equipment. And he noted, the cost was "fairly significant."

He told the committee that moving to the new system was particularly difficult on the staff and not everyone was pleased to move to this new practice paradigm. ...

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You win. (via PointofLaw.com)

Excellent piece in Boston Magazine detailing the primary care crisis:

According to the MMS, in 2007 just 42 percent of patients were able to get an appointment with their primary care doc in the space of a week (down from 53 percent a year earlier). Those patients who didn't already have regular doctors had it much harder. The average wait time for them was 52 days, and that was assuming ...

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The WSJ writes about the sad story of Myriad Genetics, who paid $200,000 for a huge coming out party at a conference for their Alzheimer's drug.

Trouble is, the drug didn't work, so they're left with an empty, fancy booth.

Tragically comical.

Night float

Frequent NY Times contributer Sandeep Jauhar has a piece in Slate talking about night float, where interns take a 12 to 14 hour shift overnight to cross-cover the entire hospital.

Sometimes the problem of caring for another doctor's patients can lead to medical errors:

The nightmare of night float raises a central question about work limits for interns: Is it better to be cared for by a tired resident ...

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Addicted to suing

Serial litigants, or those with a psychological need to sue.

His name contained an expletive and wasn't able to register with Verizon DSL. Verizon relented, but not without this newspaper pulling some strings.

Our car dependent society contributes to the obesity epidemic: "Recently, in a span of 3 weeks, I went from being somewhat out of shape to being reasonably in shape. I lost about 1.5 kilos, my posture improved, my skin got healthier. What exercise regime did I follow to accomplish this? I stayed in a rental house in the Netherlands for 3 weeks. In other words, I carried lots of ...

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