Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

[Free Statistics Book] Know Your Chances – NCBI Bookshelf

Ever been scared or made uncomfortable about threats to your health? And solutions that seemed too good to be true?
Here’s a book for just about everyone that can help one understand the statistics behind health information. And how to spot misinformation easily.

Screen Shot 2014-01-02 at 7.42.36 AM

What This Book is About – Know Your Chances – NCBI Bookshelf.

From the intro

Every day we are faced with news stories, ads, and public service announcements that describe health threats and suggest ways we can protect ourselves. It’s impossible to watch television, open a magazine, read a newspaper, or go online without being bombarded by messages about the dangers we face.

Many of the messages are intended to be scary, warning us that we are surrounded by danger and hinting that everything we do or neglect to do brings us one step closer to cancer, heart disease, and death. Other messages are intended to be full of hope, reassuring us that technological miracles and breakthrough drugs can save us all. And many messages do both: they use fear to make us feel vulnerable and then provide some hope by telling us what we can do (or buy) to lower our risk. In addition, as you may suspect, a great many of these messages are wildly exaggerated: many of the risks we hear about are really not so big, and the benefits of many of the miraculous breakthroughs are often pretty small.

As a result, we are often left misinformed and confused. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

The goal of this book is to help you better understand health information by teaching you about the numbers behind the messages—the medical statistics on which the claims are based. The book will also familiarize you with risk charts, which are designed to help you put your health concerns in perspective. By learning to understand the numbers and knowing what questions to ask, you’ll be able to see through the hype and find the credible information—if any—that remains.

Don’t worry: this is not a math book (only a few simple calculations are required). Instead, this is a book that will teach you what numbers to look for in health messages and how to tell when the medical statistics don’t support the message. This book will help you develop the basic skills you need to become a better consumer of health messages, and these skills will foster better communication between you and your doctor.

 

From the book (pages 130-132)

From the book

CREDIBLE SOURCES OF HEALTH STATISTICS

Sources Created Primarily for Consumers BMJ (British Medical Journal) Best Treatments

http://besttreatments.bmj.com/btuk/home.jsp

Medical publishing division of the British Medical Association (no commercial ads allowed). Rates the science supporting the use of operations, tests, and treatments for a variety of conditions. In the United States and Canada, available only with a Consumer Reportssubscription.

Center for Medical Consumers

www.medicalconsumers.org

Independent, nonprofit organization. Offers a skeptical take on health claims and recent health news. Free.

Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs* www.consumerreports.org/health/bestbuy-drugs.htm

Independent, nonprofit organization. Compares the benefits, side effects, and costs of different prescription drugs for the same problem, based on information from the Drug Effectiveness Review Project (see listing on page 131). Free.

Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making*

www.informedmedicaldecisions.org

Independent, nonprofit organization. Offers decision aids that describe the treatment options and outcomes for various conditions in order to promote patient involvement in decision making. DVDs must be purchased at http://www.healthdialog.com/hd/Core/CollaborativeCare/videolibrary.htm.

* Two of us (Drs. Schwartz and Woloshin) are on the advisory board for Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs (unpaid positions). We have been paid consultants reviewing materials for the Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making.

Informed Health Online

www.informedhealthonline.org

Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care, an independent, nonprofit organization established by German health care reform legislation. Describes the science supporting the use of operations, tests, and treatments for a variety of conditions. Free.

Ottawa Health Research Institute Patient Decision Aids

http://decisionaid.ohri.ca

Academic affiliate of the University of Ottawa. Provides a comprehensive inventory of decision aids (plus a rating of their quality), and tells patients how to get them. Some are free.

Sources Created Primarily for Physicians and Policy Makers Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)

www.ahrq.gov/clinic/epcix.htm

U.S. federal agency under the Department of Health and Human Services. Summarizes all the available data about treatments for specific conditions (look for EPC Evidence Reports). Free.

Cochrane Library

www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/mrwhome/106568753/HOME

International, independent, nonprofit organization of researchers. Summarizes all the available data about treatments for specific conditions (look for Cochrane Reviews). Abstracts free, full reports by subscription.

Drug Effectiveness Review Project (DERP)

www.ohsu.edu/drugeffectiveness/reports/final.cfm

Collaboration of public and private organizations developed by Oregon Health and Science University. Provides comparative data on the benefit, side effects, and costs of different prescription drugs for the same problem (source for Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs). Free.

National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE)

www.nice.org.uk/guidance/index.jsp?action=byTopic

Independent, nonprofit British organization that advises the British National Health Service. Summarizes all the available data about treatments for specific conditions (look for NICE Guidance). Free.

Physician Data Query (PDQ)—National Cancer Institute

www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq

U.S. federal government (part of the National Cancer Institute). Summa- rizes all the available data about cancer prognosis and treatments (look for Cancer Information Summaries). Free.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Center for Drug Evaluation and Research

www.fda.gov/cder/index.html

U.S. federal agency under the Department of Health and Human Services, which reviews and approves new and generic drugs. To look up individual drugs, go to http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cder/drugsatfda/index.cfm. After you choose a drug from the index, the Drug Details page appears. If you click Approval History, you may be able to access a Review and then a Medical Review. TheMedical Review contains all the relevant randomized trials submitted to the FDA for approval. From the Drug Details page, you can also access Label Information, when it is available (the package insert that comes with prescription drugs and summarizes excerpts of the review documents). Warning: This site can be challenging. The review documents can be hundreds of pages, and there may be multiple entries for the same drug (because it is used for multiple purposes). Free.

US Preventive Services Task Force

www.ahrq.gov/clinic/uspstfix.htm

Independent panel of experts sponsored by AHRQ. Summarizes the available data about preventive services. After you choose a topic, you’ll see the relevant recommendations; at the bottom of the list, you can click Best- Evidence Systematic Review under Supporting Documents. Free.

January 2, 2014 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Health Education (General Public), Health Statistics | , | Leave a comment

Science’s 2013 Breakthroughs Of The Year – Business Insider

Science’s 2013 Breakthroughs Of The Year – Business Insider.

The editors of the journal Science have chosen cancer immunotherapy — using the body’s immune system to attack tumors instead of targeting the tumor itself — as the biggest breakthrough of 2013.

“Cancer immunotherapy clinched the #1 spot because it’s causing such a paradigm shift among researchers in how they tackle cancer,” the journal’s editorial team wrote in a statement.

The technique involves training immune cells to recognize the characteristics of cancer cells, and then fight back. There’s still a lot of work ahead since the treatment has only worked for a few patients and some types of cancers so far, but the results from clinical trials offer hope for a new weapon against cancer.

Nine other groundbreaking achievements that were chosen from this year are detailed below.

Scientists discover the first real reason we need sleep

By studying a newfound pathway in mice, scientists identified the first major mechanical reason we need to sleep: to clean the brain. When the brain is sleeping, channels between cells grow. This allows cerebrospinal fluid into the depths of the brain tissues to flush out toxic proteins that build up during the day, including the kind that are responsible for neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/sciences-2013-breakthroughs-of-the-year-2013-12#ixzz2pFBgpe3O

 

 

 

 

January 2, 2014 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , | Leave a comment

5 Trends For Health CIOs In 2014 – InformationWeek

5 Trends For Health CIOs In 2014 – InformationWeek.

From the 23 December 2013 article at Information Week Health Care

Patient portals, direct messaging, and medical identity theft will keep healthcare execs on their toes in the new year.

Hackers Outsmart Pacemakers, Fitbits: Worried Yet?

Hackers Outsmart Pacemakers, Fitbits: Worried Yet?

(click image for larger view)

As healthcare CIOs are well aware, 2014 promises to be the year of “the perfect storm.” The potential impact of ICD-10 and Meaningful Use Stage 2, coupled with the transition to value-based reimbursement and new-care-delivery models, promise to overwhelm their budgets and burn out their already overworked staffs.

Nevertheless, there are some other trends healthcare CIOs should pay attention to in 2014, partly because of their bearing on the main events. Here are five significant trends.

1. Patient portals
Because of rising consumer interest in health IT, the industry transition to accountable care, and most of all, Meaningful Use Stage 2, patient portals are hot. Nearly 50% of hospitals and 40% of ambulatory practices already provide patient portals, according to a Frost & Sullivan report. The firm predicted that the value of the portal business would soar to nearly $900 million in 2017, up 221% from its worth in 2012.

[ What Obamacare sites can learn from online retail stores: Health Insurance Exchanges Struggle To Charm Customers. ]

KLAS Research, in a poll of 200 healthcare organizations, found that MU Stage 2 had made patient portals a “must-have” technology for doctors and hospitals. The government EHR incentive program requires providers to allow patients to access their health records electronically. In addition, providers must send care reminders and education materials to at least 10% of their patients. All of these tasks are most easily done through portals attached to EHRs. But there’s also some interest in untethered, standalone portals that can help patients assemble their records from multiple providers in one place.

 

….

Read the entire article here

 

January 2, 2014 Posted by | health care | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Reblog] Who is making your medical app?

Who is making your medical app?.

Buyer beware!!
iMedicalApps was created for health professionals. The reviewed apps are basically for professional use.
However, there the Forum section (now offline for revision) did at one time include a health science librarian section which I believe included consumer level app reviews/advice.

From the [15 ?] December blog at iMedicalApp

Medical apps are one of the fastest growing sectors in the app market. Medical apps broadly encompass any mobile app that is health related whether targeted to patients, physicians, students, etc. These apps range from providing easy accessibility to previously published texts, health advice, health monitoring for chronic diseases, treatment and dosing guidelines, etc.

 

A new responsibility that arises in the medical app world is management of transparency and conflict of interest issues. Generally, medical professionals are sensitive to concerns of industry involvement in medical education. There are policies in place that manage issues surrounding COI. These include regulating free drug samples, dinners, financial compensation, etc.

However, despite astute awareness when it comes to the aforementioned examples, there remains the question of why there is not more COI sensitivity in the medical app world. Consider for example an app made by a pharmaceutical company – it can suggest its own medicine for a specific disease, or even more subtly, list its drug first.

A recently published book, Conflict of Interest in Medical Research, Education and Practice(Lo and Field, 2009) lists potential sources of conflict by the pharmaceutical industry. Within medical subspecialties, medical professionals are beginning to notice the importance of authorship disclosure and transparency of the role of the industry (dermatologypsychiatry, to name a couple).

The paper sheds some light on the ethics surrounding increasing transparency for the medical app consumer. The paper points out the need for an increased awareness by all for the need for transparency as more and more of these apps are targeted at non-professional individuals who are potentially more susceptible as they are often not aware of COI issues in this context.

The utility of medical apps is clear–they will provide increasing value in management of patient care as we continue to move to electronically based medicine and medical recording. The need for increased transparency of authorship and industry relations is also clear. Medical apps have been added to the healthcare provider’s armamentarium to provide quality care. Just as we exert caution in avoiding biases with medications, treatments, and medical technologies, we must treat apps we recommend for our patients with the same good conscience.

 

 

January 2, 2014 Posted by | Finding Aids/Directories, Librarian Resources | , , , | Leave a comment

   

%d bloggers like this: