Category: Quality Improvement
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.
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.
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?
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.
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...
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.
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...
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.
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...
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.