Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for March, 2008

Serial Corelation and the Durbin Watson Statistic

What is the effect a country’s GDP on health? What about the country’s literacy rate on infant mortality rates? Often researchers try to answer these questions using time-series data. With time series data, we have observations of a few units (e.g.: countries or individuals) over many years. Let the subscript i represent the the individual […]

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The Spread of Obesity in Social Networks

Are you friends members of the Marathon Runner’s of America club or the Bratwurst and Philly Cheesesteak club? If the answer is the later, you are much more likely to be obese than the former. This is the finding of a 2007 NEJM paper by Christakis and Fowler. Obese individuals are more likely to be […]

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How to declare bankruptcy

With the stock market in decline, the credit crunch hovering over, and the fear of a recession growing, I think its time for some Friday humor. I’ll let personal finance guru Michael Scott of the TV show The Office show us all how to declare bankruptcy.

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Zagat rates your doctor

According to Insurance and Technology, health insurer WellPoint has partnered with Zagat’s Survey to allow WellPoint’s members to rate their doctors.  Zagat’s will use its 30 point rating system to evaluate all doctors.  According to Spirit magazine, patients can grade doctors based on “including doctor availability, office environment, trustworthiness, and communication.” Other websites, such as […]

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Shop around

People who are sick are not able to shop around for medical care.  This statement may be true in some cases, but not for the majority of illnesses.  Those without insurance are especially sensitive to the price of medical care and are in fact very likely to shop for the combination of the lowest price, […]

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Health Wonk Review

The latest edition of the Health Wonk Review is up at Joe Paduda’s Managed Care Matters website.

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Paying kids to go to school

In Mexico there is a government program named Oportunidades which gives families cash payments if their children go to school, get vaccinated, and have regular health checkups.  The program has been a success and similar conditional cash transfers (CCTs) programs are being run in Nicaragua, Brazil and New York City. New York City?  Should the […]

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Vaccine Logistics

Vaccination is one of the most cost effective medical treatments we have.  It is important that providers vaccines in a timely manner. In attempt to streamline vaccine distribution systems, the CDC created Vaccine Management Business Improvement Project (VMBIP).  Instead of having providers place orders with the grantee (i.e.: state health department), and then having the […]

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National Immunization Conference

I will be in Atlanta for most of this week attending the National Immunization Conference. If you are interested in seeing me present my work regarding the efficiency of the Vaccine Management Business Improvement Project‘s new distribution system for the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program, my talk will be on Wednesday at 9am. Blogging will […]

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Pay first, evidence later.

Merrill Goozer reports (“CMS okays heart scan…“) on how Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has reversed a policy to stop paying for heart scans.  There has been no clinical evidence to show that these expensive heart scans identify heart disease any better than less expensive procedures (i.e.: stress tests). Physician revenue, however, would […]

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