Weekend Wrap-Up / Miscellany

  • Health Grades announced that Yahoo will post Health Grades hospital and physician rankings on its Yahoo Health portal. According to Washington Post.com, “Yahoo will integrate [this information] into a new, searchable physician database along with related Yahoo Answers and Yahoo Group discussions.
  • I really enjoyed reading the inside baseball book Moneyball which focused on the Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane. Interestingly, Billy Beane, Newt Gingrich, and Sen. John Kerry wrote a New York Times op-ed encouraging health care providers to take a page out of baseball’s playbook.

    Look at what’s happened in baseball. For decades, executives, managers and scouts built their teams and managed games based on their personal experiences and a handful of dubious statistics. This romantic approach has been replaced with a statistics-based creed called sabermetrics. . . . Similarly, a health care system that is driven by robust comparative clinical evidence will save lives and money. . . . Working closely with doctors, the federal government and the private sector should create a new institute for evidence-based medicine.

    Interesting analogy.

  • The Chicago Tribune reports that

    Treatment with placebos is far more common than you might think, according to a new national survey in which 46 percent to 58 percent of U.S. physicians admitted using placebos regularly. . . . Only 5 percent said they tell patients explicitly that they are doing so. the physicians surveyed were far more likely to use active agents as placebos, including over-the-counter painkillers, vitamins, sedatives and antibiotics. . . . . What classifies them as placebos is the context. If the recommended treatment hasn’t been shown, physiologically, to work for the condition in question, that’s a placebo.

    No wonder health care costs are high.

  • The National Journal’s website features an interesting blog which allows health care policy experts from across the spectrum to post answers on thought provoking questions, such as What will reform look like in 2009? and Should lawmakers look to Massachusetts as a model? Check it out.