Category Archives: Medical Decision Making

Are Patients Harmed When Physicians Explain Things Too Simply?

A quick quiz before we start today’s lesson. What do we call a tree that grows from acorns? What do we call a funny story? What sound does a frog make? What is another word for a cape? What do … Continue reading

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The Lost Art Of Not Ordering A CAT Scan

She didn’t talk like a stroke victim. “I…I…I…k…kkk…can…can…can’t…t…t…t…talk.” She struggled with her words, struggling on early syllables, only to then spurt out full and correct words. “N…N…N…No.” Recognizing this unusual speech pattern, the neurologist Allan Ropper, author of Reaching Down … Continue reading

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Healthcare.gov 3.0–Improving the Design of the Obamacare Exchanges

I joined two other, much smarter, colleagues in calling for the use of behavioral economics and decision psychology to improve the design of the websites people use to purchase health insurance in the U.S. That article came out today in … Continue reading

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When It Comes to Cancer Screening, Are We All Nuts?

In a recent Health Affairs article, David Asch and I wrote about how hard it can be to stop screening aggressively for things like breast and prostate cancer even when the evidence suggests we are doing more harm than good. … Continue reading

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You Thought Innovation Was Hard, How about De-Innovation?

David Asch and I recently published an article in Health Affairs on the challenge of getting healthcare practitioners to stop doing things they are accustomed to doing, even when the evidence that those things are harmful becomes overwhelming. Here is … Continue reading

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The Power of Free

The Atlantic recently reproduced a figure showing just how much people like things when they are free. Specifically, they looked at health interventions and show that people are more likely to take up these interventions, or products, when they don’t … Continue reading

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Should North Carolina Expand Medicaid?

My home state of North Carolina is one of a number of states that refused to expand Medicaid, even though the Affordable Care Act stipulates that the federal government will cover the majority of expenses associated with such expansion. Here … Continue reading

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How Effective Are Mammograms?

Mammograms have long been touted as a life-saving preventive test. But recently, people have been re-examining the relative harms and benefits of mammography. This re-examination became quite earnest when the United States Preventive Services Task Force recommended against beginning routine … Continue reading

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Why Don’t Americans Trust Doctors?

It is an oft recited paradox that Americans like the men or women representing them in Congress, while hating Congress as a whole. In fact, respect for Congress is near all-time lows. In what has to be seen as a … Continue reading

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Wonderful Review of Critical Decisions in Hastings Center Report

I’m not sure why I didn’t notice this earlier, but I just came across a very gracious, even overly generous, review of my book, Critical Decisions in the leading journal of bioethics, The Hastings Center Report. I thought I would … Continue reading

Posted in Critical Decisions, Health & Well-being, Health Policy, Medical Decision Making