It ticks me off that the excellent site HealthNewsReview.org is going out of business due to lack of funding. More on that below. This independent website has for 12+ years been teaching us all how to watch out for BS in health news stories; they’re so important for informed health consumers that over on the e-patient blog I’ve written about them a dozen times.
They have a terrific new 17 minute podcast episode out today. I only have time here to point you to the episode’s web page, where the other speakers are described. I’m the opening speaker (for just a minute), and I do a concise, uncensored (yes I cuss) mind dump on the importance of us all being wise consumers and not blindly believing medical news coverage – not even from the big name outlets. (Gosh, that’s the same as any news coverage – who knew??) Be cautious, be conservative.
This 17 minute lesson will quickly teach you the various sources of mischief that can pollute the stream. Sometimes it’s intentional BS (just trying to sell their s4!t), sometimes it’s PR / promotional excess, sometimes it’s sloppy reporting or a gullible or untrained reporter (reporter pay is lower than ever), other times it’s financial pressures or conflict of interest. In any case, before you “ingest” these streams, it’s wise to know what kinds of pollution to watch out for, and that’s what HNR has taught.
As I say in my short clip, if we go to our clinicians assuming something we heard on the news is true, we might sound like idiots, and that hurts the cause of strong patient-clinician partnerships.
p.s. It really, really bothers me that Health News Review is going out of business because they no longer have enough support from foundations and donors. The site will be kept open, with all its excellent self-education tools. If you know a sugar daddy or momma who can re-open the doors in the name of better care (which you will need, someday), contact them.
From their site:
Note to our followers: Due to a lack of sufficient funding, HealthNewsReview.org will cease daily publication of new content at the end of 2018. Publisher Gary Schwitzer and other contributors may post new articles periodically. If you wish to donate, your gift might help keep the site available to the public for a few more years, by defraying costs of web hosting and maintenance. All of our 6,000+ published articles contain lessons to help people improve their critical thinking about health care. Read more about our change in status. And here’s how to make a donation.
This is how publisher Gary Schwitzer wrote the notification this past summer:
HealthNewsReview.org’s 12-year run will end with some nagging questions unanswered