Category: Quality Improvement

The effort of integrative medicine advocates to co-opt the opioid crisis to claim non pharmacological treatments for pain as solely theirs continues apace

Last week, I wrote about how advocates for quackery were trying, and succeeding, at persuading state Medicaid agencies to pay for acupuncture for pain. This week, I discuss how they are promoting the integration of quackery with medicine. In this case, they are promoting a white paper and trying to influence the AHRQ.

/ January 29, 2018

The Elephant in the Compounding Pharmacy

Contaminated products from compounding pharmacies have harmed and even killed patients. Quality control measures are being implemented, but there is a bigger problem: the injudicious use of untested and potentially dangerous treatments.

/ January 16, 2018

Rigor Mortis: What’s Wrong with Medical Science and How to Fix It

Medical research has been plagued by less-than-rigorous practices and a culture that rewards quantity over quality. In a new book, Richard Harris identifies the problems, proposes solutions, and offers hope.

/ January 2, 2018

CAM use leads to delays in appropriate, effective arthritis therapy

A preference to use CAM before seeking medical advice may be harming patients with inflammatory arthritis.

/ November 16, 2017

Zombie Science

Retractions of scientific studies do not always mean that the studies die a deserved death. Sometimes they live on as zombie studies, continuing to be cited by other researchers and having an effect on the scientific discussion. We can fix this.

/ October 11, 2017

If you feel better, should you stop taking your antibiotics?

A recent paper suggests that patients would be better off stopping antibiotics when they feel better, instead of completing the entire amount prescribed. Could this approach reduce antibiotic overuse and the risk of widespread resistance?

/ September 21, 2017

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

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