Notes & Links: October 8, 2013

Being in the Pink: Some Alternate Views

#$@*-Off For Breast Cancer Awareness
Cats & Cancer takes a hard critical look at October Breast Cancer Awareness month. All the Pink in the NFL?

Do NFL players wear pink wristbands because we aren’t aware of breast cancer, and watching 350-pound linebackers in pink accessories cause people to want to look into issues surrounding the disease?  Thank goodness the NFL has an online shop to sell NFL branded breast cancer awareness items.  Too bad their message is “A Crucial Catch:  Annual Detection Saves Lives” when it’s not totally true.  Some of the videos on their pink site, although compelling, do not support the message and are about self-diagnosing the disease and not annual screening.  And the NFL isn’t even putting any cash into this campaign.  You, as a supporter, can bid on the pink items the players wear in the game.  Then your money can go to…um…something.  Lucky us!

Think Before You Pink: Breast Cancer Awareness
At Healthcare Marketer another critical appraisal of Pinktober.

I Hate “Pinktober”
From Robin offers a radical view that cuts to the chase don’t buy pink merchandize or walking thill your feet bleed but, 

Consider this: instead of purchasing that pink t-shirt or that baseball cap with the pink ribbon on it, or raise that $2300 to walk the Komen, take that money and buy groceries for the woman in your church/school/neighborhood who is dealing with breast cancer.

Help her pay her light or heat bill.

Help her out with child care.

Laundry.

Meals.Laughter.Prayer.

Friendship means the world to us.

These are sole voices but voices that should make the millions and millions of us blinded by pink this month to stop and think about cancer and not just breast cancer but all cancers including lung which kills more each year.

The Promise (And Reality) Of Healthcare
Goodman and Noorbeck contributors to Forbes addresses the economic truth about healthcare. Nothing here is new or surprising and has been part of the healthcare debate and fight for years. But it is worth another look and I would say we should all revisit this once a year to determine how well they saw the future. 

  • There is currently a shortage of physicians and nurses in the US and that will only get worse as all of age. We all know age means illness. And just to add injury to insult the ACA is trying to recruit 30 million new Americans to the luxury of healthcare.
  • Accountable Care Organizations are in reality just extensions of large hospitals and will in the end drive prices up because they are buying physician practices up and are in reality a nightmare of red tape
  • Affordable Care Act is 20,000 pages long and so unwieldy it will crush us all. Additionally individuals buying health insurance don’t have to verify employment status, income, etc. Can you say fraud?
  • Affordable Care Act will mean new and higher taxes.

The authors end with the following recommendation that I agree could help with the economic issues. But I want to know how these truths hold up in one, two, or three years?

One solution that has received scant attention is to establish an advisory panel of real practicing physicians – who treat patients every day – to review, evaluate and make recommendations on which regulations improve patient care and which ones just increase government bureaucracy.  Another solution is to truly reduce rules and government red-tape instead of writing new regulations at the rate of 68 per day.  For some foolish reason, all of the proposals for healthcare reform projected over the past few decades have excluded the voice of the practicing physician. 

How Much More Evidence do You Need?
Aarron Carroll at The Incidental Economist gives us word up on probiotic supplementation, necrotizing enterocolitis, and preterm infants. This is an excellent analysis of the data from the likes of JAMA and a Cochrane review. He ends the post with the following…

It also attacks the way that probiotics seem to be held to a standard that traditional medicine is not. Look, I will be the first to slam any practices, traditional or alternative, that make claims that go beyond evidence. I will be the first to mock those that refuse to engage in studies because they think they might find something they don’t like. Neither applies here. This is a problem that needs fixing, now.

HealthcareDIY: An Old Idea Made New
Jane Sarasohn-Kahn writing on The Health Care Blog introduces a new site HealthcareDIY and wraps the discussion around what the current new black in patient care the ePatient. She writes about her mother Polly

…who died 34 years ago this month. She was my first role model for an engaged patient. When she was diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma in 1971, there was no internet for her to tap into for a patient network, a clinical trial, or a directory of oncologists or centers of excellence that were Top Doctors for treating the condition

This is a must read for anyone who is interested in or wants to become an ePatient. It is also a must read for the simple reason it is not yet another post about how our healthcare system, the ACA, our economy because of healthcare is all going to hell in a hand basket. This is about what small steps taken by individuals can add up to a movement that improves care and lowers cost. But I’m just a pollyanna who some days is longing to take a dirt nap. 

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