Category: Quality Improvement

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How accurately do physicians estimate risk and benefit?

A new study suggests that physicians tend to overestimate the benefits of treatments, tests, and screening tests, while also underestimating harms.

/ January 26, 2017

Do pill organizers help or hurt?

In order for medication to work, getting a prescription filled isn’t enough. You have to actually take the medication. And that’s where you (the patient) come in. Estimates vary based on the population and the medication, but a reasonable assumption is that 50% of people given a prescription don’t take their medication as prescribed. In pharmacy terminology we usually call this medication...

/ August 25, 2016
medical-error

Are medical errors really the third most common cause of death in the U.S.?

A regurgitation of existing data suggested that medical error is the third leading cause of death in America. Is it true? Spoiler alert! No. No it's not. While medical error can and should be reduced, this BMJ article does not justify claims that doctors are a leading cause of death in the United States.

/ May 9, 2016

Another Anti-GMO Paper Retracted

Retraction Watch is a great website. As the name implies, it focuses on a key aspect of quality control in science, the retraction of scientific papers that have already passed peer-review and were published when serious concerns about those papers come to light. Retracting published papers is similar to phase IV clinical trials – tracking side effects of drugs that have already...

/ March 16, 2016
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Reporting results from clinical trials is vital for science-based medicine

Clinical trials must report on their outcomes, irrespective their results. Doctors and their patients need all the information, not just the good news stories, to make informed decisions.

/ February 28, 2016

The fine line between quality improvement and medical research

As I’ve mentioned before, the single biggest difference between science-based medicine (SBM) and what I like to call pseudoscience-based medicine, namely the vast majority of what passes for “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) or “integrative medicine” is that SBM makes an active effort to improve. It seeks to improve efficacy of care by doing basic and clinical research. Then it seeks to...

/ December 28, 2015
WalkChewGum

On “integrative medicine” and walking and chewing gum at the same time

Evidence matters. Science matters. However, when advocates of "integrating" quackery into medicine via the vehicle of "integrative medicine" invoke weak science and poor quality evidence in conventional medicine in response to criticism, what they are really doing is deflecting attention away from their quackery. More importantly, advocates of science-based medicine are capable of walking and chewing gum at the same time. We...

/ November 16, 2015
Choosing Wisely

Choosing Wisely: Changing medical practice is hard

One of the hardest things to do in medicine is to change practice in the face of scientific evidence that what you're doing isn't working. Quacks never change, but medicine does. The change might be slower and messier than we would like, but change does happen. Choosing Wisely is an initiative designed to bring about change by discouraging the use of interventions...

/ October 19, 2015
The Lyme spirochete, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease (but not chronic Lyme disease).

More Lyme ‘Guidelines’

I noted with understanding that the Doubtful News can’t take it anymore. The relentless tsunami sewage slurry of pseudo-science (who says I can’t alliterate?) has worn her down. She is: currently experiencing a phase in which I can’t seem to bring myself to promote another ridiculous story in the media about a haunted location, scary sounds from the sky, or the latest...

/ October 2, 2015

In the Spirit of Choosing Wisely

Oh, loneliness and cheeseburgers are a dangerous mix. – Comic Book Guy Same can be said of viral syndromes and Thanksgiving. My brain has been in an interferon-induced haze for the last week that is not lifting anytime soon. Tell me about the rabbits, George. But no excuses. I have been reading the works of Chuck Wendig over at Terrible Minds. (Really,...

/ November 28, 2014