Making the correct diagnosis in a timely manner is crucial. It not only avoids lots of unnecessary (and expensive) tests, but gets the appropriate treatment started more quickly.
But making a diagnosis can be difficult. And one of the leading causes of medical malpractice suits is “failure to diagnose”; that’s why so many cases of indigestion are worked up as potential heart attacks, or headaches for aneurysms or tumors.
Many patients (and physicians) turn to apps or online tools to help make a diagnosis. Unfortunately, Harvard just published a study that shows these tools are only right about half the … Continue reading
I just read this post on the popular medical blog, KevinMD: How do patients really feel about doctors? Google shares their secrets.
While Google’s autocomplete can be quite convenient, albeit creepy, it can also be pretty mean. I decided to see how Google’s autocomplete felt about various medical specialties. Apparently a lot of specialties are stupid and useless.
The author shares the following examples:
Well, I was a surgical nurse and I have to agree that a lot of surgeons are jerks, but certainly not all of them. And calling gynecologists evil seems a bit extreme, doesn’t … Continue reading
I’ve written several posts on calcium and vitamin D. Calcium is an important nutrient, but most evidence suggests we need to get more calcium in what we eat, rather than supplements.
It’s the same with vitamin D. We need to eat a variety of foods that are rich in vitamin D and also spend more time in the sunshine. There is no data at this time to support vitamin D supplements.
Related post: Healthy adults don’t need multivitamins
But it’s difficult to follow the recommended intake levels of both nutrients. Every day I try to eat foods … Continue reading
When the cost of both brand name and generic levothyroxin skyrocketed two years ago, the first thing I did (after complaining loudly to the pharmacist, although it wasn’t his fault) was look at the Food and Drug Administrations’s (FDA) website.
Following the Economics 101 rule of supply and demand, the sudden price increase of a drug is usually due to a shortage. Sometimes ingredients are difficult to find, or a quality control issue has limited the supply.
The FDA has a page that lists all known drug shortages, including the reason for the shortage and how long it is … Continue reading
Crowdfunding, done through internet companies such as Indiegogo and Kickstarter, has been popular for some time. It’s a simple idea: You post your project or fundraising goal on their websites and hope enough people are interested to make a donation. You can also offer incentives to increase your donors’ generosity.
It seems the same concept has come to health care. I read about an interesting new internet start-up company called CrowdMed that, according to its mission statement, is:
Harnessing the wisdom of crowds to solve even the world’s most difficult medical cases quickly and accurately online.
Rather than seeking … Continue reading
Almost since it went online, experts have been pointing out multiple security flaws in the federal health insurance exchange website, HealthCare.gov.
And I’ve reported about security problems in my state-run exchange, as well.
But the latest information about a security issue affecting your personal data isn’t the result of poor design—it’s intentional—and that makes it even more egregious: HealthCare.gov Sends Personal Data to Dozens of Tracking Websites
The digital watchdog group, Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF) reports:
EFF researchers have independently confirmed that healthcare.gov is sending personal health information to at least 14 third party domains, even if the
… Continue reading
An article last week in the MIT Technology Review issued a warning that our health care information, including medical, insurance and financial records, might not be secure.
Along with vast troves of credit card information and celebrity snapshots, hackers stole a record number of medical records from U.S. health-care facilities this year. In 2015, attacks targeting health data will become even more common, according to security researchers.
Carl Leonard, principal security analyst for Websense, says hackers are breaking into the computer networks of health-care facilities with increasing frequency and taking valuable personal information that is often secured improperly. In August,
… Continue reading
Oops, they did it again
This week revealed another major data hack, this time targeting a huge health care group, Tennessee-based Community Health.
A cyberattack suspected to have originated in China stole Social Security numbers and other personal data for 4.5 million patients whose records were in Community Health Services Inc.’s system, the company said Monday.
The data breach included the names, addresses, birth dates, telephone numbers and Social Security numbers of patients who were referred for or received services from doctors affiliated with the hospital group in the last five years.
4.5 million patients! What a jackpot … Continue reading
The Doctor Mole skin cancer detection app
I was browsing through some smartphone apps last week and I ran across one called Doctor Mole. At first I thought it had something to do with the garden pest—I have an infestation of moles plowing through my vegetable garden every evening, so they are much on my mind.
I thought, “Yes! An app to tell me how to get rid of moles!”
Nope. Wrong kind of mole.
But I was still interested. I had heard of these skin cancer tracking apps, so I decided to take a look and see what … Continue reading
Mark my words—Washington state’s health exchange is going to be the next big news story about an internet security breach resulting in the theft of consumers’ personal information.
As I mentioned in Monday’s post about internet security and your health care records, I recently changed the password to my family’s account on our state’s health benefits (Obamacare) exchange, wahealthplanfinder.org.
In that post I cautioned against using your personal (insecure) email to communicate sensitive health information.
So imagine my surprise and dismay when I received an email from Washington Healthplanfinder not only acknowledging my change of password, but also … Continue reading