Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for the 'Public Health' Category

Infectious Disease: Themes

An interesting post by Nicolas Bagley at the Incidental Economist provides a brief overview of a class he taught on infectious diseases and the law.  Looking at diseases ranging from cholera, Spanish flu, polio, AIDS, SARS, and Ebola, Bagley claims that ten key themes emerged: Governments are typically unprepared, disorganized, and resistant to taking steps […]

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Avoiding Lead poisoning

Lead poisoning, perhaps surprisingly, is still a major problem in the U.S. Lead poisoning in the water supply in Flint, Michigan is grabbing all the headlines, but other sources of lead poisoning are also problematic. John Oliver has even dedicated an entire show to the problem of lead poisoning in the U.S. How do you […]

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What is the FDA doing about opioids?

The FDA is planning to put additional scrutiny on the use and approval of opioids in order to prevent opioid abuse and addiction.  Here is their plan: Re-examine the risk-benefit paradigm for opioids and ensure that the agency considers their wider public health effects Convene an expert advisory committee before approving any new drug application for an […]

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Innovation vs. Equity in Health Care Philanthropy

In the Denver Post, Dottie Lamm makes discusses Larry Ellison’s hope to live forever and his donation towards anti-aging research.  Ellison has donated $450 million to anti-aging research. Ms. Lamm worries that this research will only benefit the rich. If such measures are available only to billionaires, or millionaires, or even to “one-percenters,” I see […]

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Health in Baltimore

Baltimore is in the news, and not for the best reasons.  The arrest and eventual death of Freddie Gray have unleashed a series of protests and riots.  One conference where the Healthcare Economist had a poster presentation–the American Heart Association (AHA) Quality of Care and Outcomes Research (QCOR) Scientific Sessions (conference) was cancelled this week due […]

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Do Weight Loss Wellness Programs work?

In short, ‘no’.  At least that is the conclusion reached by a recent AJMC paper that looks at the evidence available for employer-sponsored wellness programs.  The authors write: American corporations continue to expand wellness programs, which now reach an estimated 90% of workers in large organizations, yet no study has demonstrated that the main focus […]

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Visit your doctor whenever you like

Typical hours when illness strikes is 24 hours a day, 7 days per week.  In the US, typical physician hours are 9-5, Monday through Friday. Although this is changing (CVS Minute Clinics have Saturday and Sunday hours), it is still difficult for individuals who are work and are ill to see a doctor without taking […]

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Are you really disabled?

When the government extends benefits to individuals with specific characteristics (e.g., poverty, disability), the number of people who claim to have these characteristics will necessarily increase.  For instance, there are reports that unemployed individuals who no longer qualify for welfare are now moving onto the disability rolls in large numbers.  Are these people really disabled? A recent study  by Gosling […]

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The Efficiency Frontier in Health Economics

Which treatments are better than others? Ideally, medicines that provide large health benefits and cost little will be preferred to those that offer little health benefits and/or cost a lot. In health economics, one way to systematically evaluate different treatments is the efficiency frontier. The efficiency frontier methodology is an extension of the standard approach […]

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I’d rather have HIV than diabetes

This is what a provocative article in the Spectator concludes. A recent large epidemiological study showed that, for those diagnosed with HIV now, life expectancy is similar to someone who does not have the virus. The medical profession now considers HIV a chronic disease; it’s regarded in public health terms in the same category as, […]

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