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Health Wonk Review (Trailblazing #8)

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Health Wonk Review #8. A compilation of the best of health-wonk-o-sphere delivered in a trailblazing new format.

HWR #8 is here and in the good tradition of The Medical Blog Network it is breaking new ground and shaking up status quo. This time with using new blog directory for streamlined carnival submission.

The approach stirred lots of excitement. Many folks loved it, some brought up concerns and quite a few did not yet have time to learn enough to decide. Yet, this HWR issue, in addition to being a compilation of health-wonk-o-sphere's best is also an important test case of "social technologies" in action.

Stats and ideas on this new format & process are in the end of this post. Now without further ado, here is what the wonks had to say:

News & Announcements

Enoch Choi, MD of medmusings will be hosting a medblogger meetup at bloggercon 4 in SF on June 23-34. That is a tradition from the previous ones and will include 1.5 hours with Michael Ostrovsky of MedGadget,
Matthew Holt of The Health Care Blog (look for his HWR submission in policy section) and even the guy writing these lines. RSVP to Enoch at enochchoimd-thoughts AT yahoo {DOT} com.

Trapier Keith Michael continues to produce "Behind The Wheel 2", his bi-weekly roundup of all the health policy news that's fit to post. New terminology galore, you can learn the meaning of hot topics like "Fast Medicine," "Food Police," and "Free Markets for Bodily Organs.". Sounds like a brave new world is upon our doorster.

Policy, Politics and Economics

Joe Paduda at Managed Care Matters has already decided what to do when he becomes King; he's going to attack US employers' health care legacy costs, thereby helping them compete in the newly-flattened world. Joe calls his own proposals "Rough, nasty, and downright unworkable, but a start". Delicious choice of words.

Matthew Holt from The Health Care Blog heard a talk from the Secretary of the AMA that made him despair that we'll ever get the doctors on board. My take? AMA does not speak for all US doctors and possibly not even their members. Physicians who "may get on board" are probably not members anyways.

Insurance World

David Williams of Health Business Blog is at his investigative best, highlighting Anthem's effort to "recover checks it inadvertently sent to members; some for as little as a penny". A commenter is way less charitable calling them "Dumb asses". 'Nuff said.

Julie Ferguson of Workers Comp Insider has a series of posts on teen worker issues with tips and resources for parents, employers, and young workers themselves. Summer is the season when 2 million teen workers flock to the workplace running a high risk for work injuries.

Henry Stern, LUTCF of InsureBlog highlights an important angle of the cat-and-mouse game insurers and physicians / insureds play, looking at drug formularies. Given how perverse are the incentives of the insurance business, no wonder only about ~20% consumers trust their health plan to do the right thing.

Hospitals & Health Systems

Tony Chen of Hospital Impact is going to work for a hospital starting next month and pleading for some good advice. A wisecracking commenter reminds him "to wash [his] hands. a lot".

Olivier Travers from Hospital Buyer has a primer on gainsharing. Yet another wonder from our wise elected leaders: Though technically illegal, gainsharing experiments have been recently mandated by Congress. Olivier takes a 360 degrees look at this complex issue.

Pharma, Research and Ethics

Martin S Andersen from Health Policy & Research comes to defense of pharma industry over their treatment by CNN (Zostavax... not so fast honey) and possibilty of being hurt by lack of integrity in research staff (It really wasn't big pharma's fault after all...). Perhaps demonization of drugmakers has really gone too far.

Jason T Shafrin looks at the new WHO guidelines for transparency of clinical trials wearing his Healthcare Economist hat. I am not that familiar with the subject to comment in a really enlightened way.

Health IT, P4P & Quality

Rob Lamberts, MD is really frustrated with his great state and thinks that sweet Georgia is out of it's mind. Stupidity of government bureaucrats knows no bounds: Faxing prescriptions out is legal, but accepting them is not. You have to read the whole story for the juciest part.

Health Care Renewal does not mince words about Pay-for-Performance, describing it as "the latest management fad in health care, but one that risks unintended, even perverse results". So what is the problem here, concept or implementation? In the interest of raising TMBN commenting activity I would love to see HCR and Dr. Rob, continue this debate.

Steve Beller, PhD over at Curing Healthcare is trying to take a balanced look at the issues of quality. What is the value and limitations of measuring provider performance using claims data? Come for in-depth analysis and a mountainful of citations.

New Media on The March

TMBN is not the only outfit stirring up the "social technology" pond.

For the last few months Steve Beller, PhD has been hard at work developing an ever-evolving virtual encyclopedia of the healthcare crisis and potential remedies. Kudos to Steve for bringing us the Wellness Wiki that is looking more impressive day by day. Go forth and check out the fruits of his labor!

Rita K Schwab, CPCS, CPMSM sounds the alarm on the latest twist in "Internet neutrality debate" with an ominous title: "Ask Not For Whom the Web Tolls - It Tolls For Thee". Get ready to be nickeled-and-dimed for every move you make in cyberspace. That is if the telecom companies get their way. Scared already? Dash off a nastygram to your federal representatives.

When will blogging become as critical to every medical office as billing? Most physician bloggers still do it mainly for fun or to rant their frustrations. But with enlightened help from Carol Kirshner forward thinking docs incorporate blogs deep into the relationships with their patients. Will the trend continue? You BET!

Submission Process: Stats and Observations

Now that the actual issue is completed, let's look into the process of assembling it. Let's start with hard stats at this post's time:

  • Blog Listings: 35 and counting. This apparently includes blogs submitted into both carnivals.
  • HWR #8 Entries: Comparison by way of arrival.
    • 15 through the system
    • 4 through direct contact
    • 0 that I know of refused to submit
  • HWR #7 Entries: Comparison with the last issue.
    • 11 total submitted
    • 72% increase in submissions
  • Grand Rounds 2.37 Entries: Comparison by way of arrival.
    • 15 through the system
    • 0 through direct contact
    • ? firmly refusing to submit

While the results are looking good so far, how do they stack up against concerns raised? Here are observations:

  • Submission Process: Apparently plenty of people had no trouble. Most of usability feedback was quickly incorporated. People liked ability to introduce themselves the way they want.
  • Unregistered Submitters: Had no trouble getting included either. Many cited lack of time at the last moment and commited to signing up later. Every post got a link no matter how submitted.
  • Flavor vs. Automation: The "problem" of losing host's take on submissions is nowhere to be found. There are plenty of my personal comments above, but the curious can read submissions "in their own words" .
  • Impact on Host's Traffic: There was a concern that availability of "raw" submissions may siphon attention / traffic from hosts. Update is on the way to give hosts full control over display of raw entries.
  • Feature Requests: Based on feedback, registered bloggers will soon be able to set up reminders to submit. This will increase participation & community even more.

So I do not know who else may have an objection, but looks like the service is working just fine. Unless someone thinks it is not OK to support it with advertising.

Thanks to everyone who contributed, especially using the new system. I believe together we have proven the viability of this format and I invite further feedback.

Next HWR #9 will be hosted by Julie Ferguson of Workers Comp Insider who will continue to collect submissions through this carnival service with my full help and technical support.

Finally do not forget to submit to Grand Rounds 2.37 hosted here on June 6. Expect TMBN to make a major new announcement of significant importance to medical blogosphere.

Trackbacks (3)

The URI to TrackBack this entry is:
from Occupational Diseases on Thu, 09/21/2006 - 8:06pm reports that a Wisconsin Study published in the American Journal of Health Behavior reports that one out of six working teens has been injured on the job. Many of these teenagers should not legally have been working the jobs...

from Driving In Traffic on Fri, 06/02/2006 - 7:20am

As if hosting HWR wasn’t enough work, Dmitriy over at The Medical Blog Network has done his coding magic to develop an automated system for submitting entries. 
Drop by to read HWR and think about submitting your entry for Grand Rounds to be po...

from InsureBlog on Fri, 06/02/2006 - 5:49am

The 8th edition of the Health Wonk Review is now up at Healthvoices (part of the Medical Blog Network). With over 30 entries, this is quite a step up for the fledgling "carnival."

Comments (6)

Submitted by hgstern on Fri, 06/02/2006 - 5:35am.


I was one of those who expressed initial skepticism about the new submission system.

Now that I've used it for both HWR and GR, I'm a believer! :-)

For me, the most important issue is that the host has read my submission, and has included either his take on it, or the submitter's summary. In this way, I can get a sense of what the post is about, and whether or not I'm interested. And you've done a terrific job of that.

It's also heartening to see the sheer number of submissions: I must admit, it was relatively easy to handle 11 posts compared to the 30+ you've got.

Thank you for an outstanding job, and have a great weekend!

Submitted by Daniel Haszard (not verified) on Fri, 06/02/2006 - 1:22pm.

Well said,i applaud your blog,mental health consumers are the least capable of self advocacy,my doctors made me take zyprexa for 4 years which was ineffective for my symptoms.I now have a victims support page against Eli Lilly for it's Zyprexa product causing my diabetes.--Daniel Haszard

#3: Well!
Submitted by mistiejourney on Fri, 06/02/2006 - 3:24pm.

Looks pretty good, and this is the first time I ever read HWR!  I left horribly uneducated comments as this is not my area of expertise, but I learned a lot, too.

So now, let's see how Grand Rounds goes!   

Submitted by extreme cutting (not verified) on Tue, 05/13/2008 - 4:22am.

I have to say that this is a very good article. It has good
information, well written. I like the fact that you didn’t wasted time with
typing with other details that no one would care about! Good thing!

Submitted by Forex trading (not verified) on Thu, 06/19/2008 - 11:53pm.

things aren't looking too favorably for the "independence" of the independent
commission established by newly elected Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter, which had the
laudable goal of drawing up a plan for the future of health care in Colorado. It
turns out that despite good intentions.

Submitted by Drug Rehabilitation (not verified) on Mon, 08/18/2008 - 6:00am.

We will always read "Insurance world" related articles because in this field, it seems we can't come to one solution that will benefit us all.

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