Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for December, 2008

Cavalcade of Risk #67

The latest edition of the Cavalcade of Risk is up at Insurance Copywriter.

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Los Galácticos de Obama

At the turn of the century, the football (soccer) club Real Madrid began collecting some of the most famous players in the world. Termed los Galácticos by the media, the team included a stockpile all-world players such as Figo, Zidane, Ronaldo, Beckham, Michael Owen, Roberto Carlos, and Raúl.   It seems Presdient-Elect Obama is trying to form […]

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SCHIP takeup by immigrants

A paper by Buchmueller, LoSasso and Wong (2008) recounts that “6 million children who are eligible for public insurance remain uninsured.”  One question that remains to be answered is whether or not the 6 million children eligible for SCHIP who did not take it up were disproportionately from immigrant groups.  If this was true, public […]

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Do global health ratings work?

Many health plans have used patient health ratings as important metrics for quality improvement.  The simplest way to evaluated the quality of a health plan is to ask all members to rate the plan from 1-10 and take the average score.  However, this simple averaging gives health plans an incentive to improve quality for low […]

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Vaccination rate overstated

The Washington Post reports that the number of children who have been vaccinated in developing countries has been greatly exaggerated.  Political pressure to increase vaccination rates as well as financial incentives from NGOs rewarded increased vaccinations has driven these reporting errors.  Hat Tip: Marginal Revolution.

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The paradox of better screening

Does better screening lead to improvements in health outcomes?  Conventional wisdom holds that this is always true.  For instance, catching breast cancer at an early stage greatly improves survival probabilities.  However, early screening can lead to a statistical anomaly where better screening appears to improve mortality rates even when treatments are entirely ineffective. Here is […]

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Books of the Year

My favorite Economist issue is out: The Economist picks for the books of the year.  Below, is a list of my favorite books that I’ve read in the last 12 months. East of Eden – one of the top 5 books I’ve ever read. A Separate Peace – A short, simple book, but one that stays […]

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How do patients choose their doctor?

The Center for Studying Health System Change gives some insight into how patients choose their doctor: “Among consumers who found a new provider, few engaged in active shopping or considered price or quality information—especially when choosing specialists or facilities for medical procedures. When selecting new primary care physicians, half of all consumers relied on word-of-mouth […]

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Health Wonk Review is up

The “Just the facts, ma’am” edition of the Health Wonk Review is up at the e-CareManagement blog.

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Half is just as good

The USA Today reports that a half-dose of flu vaccine has proven to be nearly as effective as the full dose “especially in women and those younger than 50.” Why is this important? During vaccine shortages, half doses of vaccines can be used to conserve resources.

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