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We’re treating lab results–not patients

March 2, 2015

By Margie Coloian

What is your overall impression of the healthcare system in the United States?

We have the worst organized system in the world. In fact, you can’t invent a worse medical system. We waste hundreds of billions of dollars on unnecessary testing and treatments, at the same time that we neglect those who are truly sick. All of this while we spend twice as much per capita as any only developed nation. And we achieve lousy outcomes.

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Eliseo Medina: The organizer is a sparkplug

February 24, 2015

By David Martin

Eliseo Medina, the former international secretary-treasurer of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), is described by the Los Angeles Times as “one of the most successful labor organizers in the country” and was named one of the “Top 50 Most Powerful Latino Leaders” in Poder Magazine. Medina also leads the union’s efforts to achieve comprehensive immigration reform that rebuilds the nation’s economy, secures equal labor- and civil-rights protections for workers to improve their wages and work conditions and provides legal channels and a path to citizenship.

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First ‘Do No Harm’ awards given for describing effects of medical overuse

February 17, 2015 (Boston, MA)—The Lown Institute today announced recipients of the first national Do No Harm Project Competition, which encouraged clinical medical trainees to write vignettes, or essays, chronicling harm or near harm resulting from medical overuse. The two vignettes chosen by a panel of experts were written by Spyridoula Maraka, MD, with secondary authors Derek O’Keeffe MD and Victor Montori, MD, all from the Mayo Clinic; and Stephanie Chen, MD, from Johns Hopkins, Bayview Medical Center.

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A patient’s story: After research, a push back on thyroid surgery

February 17, 2015

By Julie Martinez
For the Lown Institute

I am a well-educated, athletic, well-insured, basically healthy 52-year-old woman. Up until seven years ago, I had outstanding health and avoided doctors’ offices and screening tests because I felt well and thought there was little to gain by seeing a doctor.

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CDC and Tamiflu: When are we going to look at the facts?

February 17, 2015

By Andy Lazris
for the Lown Institute

When CDC director Tom Frieden stated unequivocally that neuraminidase inhibitors (NIs), such as Tamiflu, should be given to all elderly people with upper respiratory infection symptoms even before they have documented flu because NIs save lives, prevent hospitalizations, and curb disease spread in nursing homes, I was appalled. Having read the Cochrane report on NIs, it seemed clear to me that at best Tamiflu was ineffective, and at worst it could cause more harm than good.

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Over-diagnosis of thyroid cancer in Korea

February 13, 2015

By Sang Won Shin, MD
For the Lown Institute

In 1997, in the small town of Young-kwang in the southwest, a doctor opened a private internal medicine clinic. For some reason, he decided to provide patients ultrasonography screening for thyroid cancer. It did not take long for him to be admired for saving many lives by detecting early thyroid cancers. The news rapidly spread to the nearby towns and cities. And clinics in other areas subsequently joined in the frenzy of detecting thyroid cancers with ultrasonography screening. It was not a bad thing for doctors to detect early cancers since that supports them and they gain a reputation for saving lives.

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Opaque Costs Lead to Embarrassment

February 12, 2015
By Margie Coloian

Among the must-haves Steven Weinberger, MD envisions for our healthcare system is transparency of costs. The cost of individual care is a mystery for most patients. The mix of copays, co-insurance, deductibles, facility fees—are all nebulous—until the bill arrives weeks after a medical encounter.

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