News/Press

Below are some links to popular media coverage of my research.


Price Transparency in Health Care – 02/26/2014

Here is a WHYY Radio Times segment I participated in about health care price transparency. When it comes to the cost of treating illness, do you know how much your care costs? With higher co-pays and deductibles, health care price transparency could be an idea whose time has come.
Why You Should Know the Cost of Your Medical Treatments


Stories Reveal Uncertainty About Who Obamacare Will Help – 01/19/2014

It is too early to tell who will benefit and who will be harmed by Obamacare as the the law continues to unfold. In the absence of solid data, that leaves us with stories. Here are a few stories, reported on in the Fayetteville Observer, to give you a feel for the range of experiences people are having lately.
Obamacare pros, cons to be weighed in 2014 midterm elections


Happiness, Old Age, and New Year’s Resolutions – 12/31/2013

Now that the New Year has arrived, it is of course the time for New Year’s resolutions. It’s also the time for columnists to write essays about New Year’s resolutions. One such essay came to my attention recently, because a financial columnist at U.S. News & World Report managed to weave in some research I conducted with Dylan Smith and Heather Lacey on people’s inability to predict how happy they will be as they age.
5 New Year’s Resolutions for New Retirees


What Does Health Insurance Procrastination Have to do With Bruce Springsteen? – 12/23/2013

In this Marketplace report, Dan Gorenstein explores the role procrastination played in all the last minute efforts to sign up for health insurance through Obamacare this year. Check it out to see how I managed to work “the Boss” into the story.
Obamacare delay gives health care procrastinators another day


More Discussions about Discussing Out-Of-Pocket Costs – 12/19/2013

In the wake of my recent New York Times op-ed, and other writing about patient out-of-pocket costs, I was interviewed by Tammy Worth, a writer at Renal and Urology News. She did a great job of exploring this controversial topic
How to Evaluate Costs to Improve Care, Retain Patients


Should HIV-Positive Patients Receive Scarce Lung Transplants – 12/18/2013

Quite a while ago, I was co-author on a New England Journal of Medicine article arguing that HIV-positive patients, stable on anti-retro viral therapy, were now healthy enough to qualify as organ transplant recipients. Nevertheless, this practice remains controversial, as you can see from this story published by Al Jazeera America, telling a tragic tale of a man who did not receive a lung transplant.
In death, HIV-positive man may become symbol of transplant hope for others


Discussing Financial Toxicity in Oncology Settings – 12/15/2013

The American Society of Clinical Oncology is one of the leading specialty organizations for physicians who take care of patients with cancer. A reporter from ASCO just wrote a nice piece, in which she questioned me to go into more detail about the challenge of discussing cost of care with oncology patients. I thought I would share that with you.
Disclosing Medical Costs Can Help Avoid ‘Financial Toxicity’


Too Much Medical Care? – 12/01/2013

This summer I had the pleasure of speaking with a very intelligent journalist, who was working on an article about overtreatment in medical care. That article has just come out; you can check it out below.
Are You Getting Too Much Medical Care?


Research Into Why People End Up in Boring Jobs – 11/07/2013

NPR’s Morning Edition recently covered my research with David Comerford on effort aversion. Our research gives some insight into how people wind up in boring jobs.
Why Do People Agree To Work In Boring Jobs


Out-of-Pocket Costs Are Another Treatment Side Effect – 10/17/2013

Here is a MedPage article discussing an article I co-authored in the New England Journal of Medicine in which we urge physicians to talk about out-of-pocket costs with patients.
Doctors Urged to Talk About Costs of Treatment


Why Do People Choose Dull Jobs? – 10/12/2013

David Comerford and I conducted research that sheds some light on why people might stick with a dull job over something more exciting. A variety of media outlets are beginning to report on the study and ponder its implications.
Why People Choose Boring Jobs
Why people pick boring jobs
Why some workers settle for boring jobs
Economica: Why people choose boring jobs


Bargaining Power in Health Plan Negotiations – 09/29/2013

I recently spoke with a journalist from The Tennessean about the bargaining power Vanderbilt’s Children’s Hospital brings the university.
Children’s hospital gives Vanderbilt University leverage in health plan negotiations


Are Healthier Options at Fast Food Restaurants a Good Thing? – 09/27/2013

I recently had the opportunity to take part in an AirTalk segment about “healthy” menus at fast food restaurants. It’s possible that the inclusion of healthy menu items causes people to choose items that are worse for them. Are healthy options good business?
Are fast food giants banking on sneaky “healthy halo” effect with new diet options?


Fear Mongering in Obamacare Debates – 09/23/2013

Most people don’t understand Obamacare and uncertainty can be a very powerful emotion. Both pro-Obamacare and anti-Obamacare ads are working off fear.
Defund Obamacare: Stay tuned, after these messages


What Will Help Rectify Pricing Disparities? – 09/16/2013

The same procedure might cost as much as $25,000 at one facility, and only $1,500 at another. MSN Money looks at the debate over whether health care reform will do anything to rectify such pricing disparities and lower costs.
Debate rages over Obamacare, medical costs


Will Hospitals and Medical Facilities Start Posting Prices – 08/28/2013

As consumers pay more costs out of pocket, will they demand transparency in prices?
Surgery prices online?


The Challenges of Shared Decision Making – 07/05/2013

This article explores the challenges of helping patients understand their medical decisions. The author, a physician, makes mention of some of my research.
How should doctors share impossible decision with their patients?


The Free Market As A Cure-all for Healthcare? – 05/06/2013

Some think that most healthcare problems in the US would be solved by letting the power of an unregulated free market do its work. But is that wishful thinking and overly simplistic?
Why the free market isn’t a cure-all for healthcare.


Too Small to Work? – 04/30/2013

As part of Obamacare, people are required to get health insurance or pay a penalty. For some, the penalty may be as low as $95. Would anyone in their right mind, who is not otherwise inclined to buy health insurance, buy it just to avoid such a small penalty?
Will you buy into Obamacare or pay the penalty?


Shared Decision Making Gets a Boost – 11/29/2012

Joanne Kenen looks at the boost shared decision making is getting from the Affordable Care Act. I was able to provide some insight as to where this new model fits into doctor-patient communication and medical decisions.
ACA boosts ‘shared decision-making’


Get to Know Your Doctor – 10/11/2012

A recent piece by a USA Weekend where I share ways to make stronger connections with doctors. Stronger connections can lead to great care!
Want great care? Get to know your doctor


Rare Diseases Too Expensive to Treat? – 9/5/2012

A great piece by a Forbes reporter discussing why rare disease treatments can cost as much as $400,000 per patient, per year.
How A $440,000 Drug Is Turning Alexion Into Biotech’s New Innovation Powerhouse


Is Patient Health Taking a Hit? – 8/1/2012

A nice article on Workforce.com, by a reporter I spoke to, on the potential hazards of high deductible health insurance.
High deductibles hazardous?


Pay more, but live longer – 4/17/2012

Pharma Times recently published an article on the costs and benefits of US cancer care. The article highlights studies published in April’s issue of Health Affairs, including a study I recently led on the inconsistency in how oncologists judge the value of high-cost cancer drugs in relation to survival gains.
•  US cancer care costs more, provides longer survival than Europe: study


Whose life would you save? – 7/12/2011

WHYY in Philadelphia has a report out on a new study I participated in, led by my good friend Scott Halpern. The study revealed the strange lengths to which physicians will go to help their patients, even if it hurts other patients.
•  Savings are in the balance in hard choices in health care


Tough decision? Take it piece by piece – 4/21/2011

Brian Zikmund-Fisher took the lead on a study published this week in which we found evidence that when people face tough decisions, it helps for them to break the decision into smaller pieces, and take it one step at a time.
•   Collect piece-by-piece info on cancer


Do patients need the numbers? – 4/14/2011

An interesting article by Peter Schwartz in the latest Hastings Center Report on whether patients, facing difficult medical decisions, ought to get precise numbers on the risks and benefits of their alternatives. I contributed a commentary, urging researchers to keep developing better ways to help patients make rational use of the numbers.
•  Too Much Information?


What would you do, doc? – 4/11/2011

A bunch of media outlets are beginning to report on a new study of mine (conducted with a couple great colleagues) in which we found that docs choose different treatments for themselves than they recommend to their patients. Kinda scary stuff.
•  Doctors ‘often defy’ their own treatment advice
•  Doctors don’t always take their own advice: survey
• Physicians may heal themselves differently


When less is more – 3/29/2011

Here is a news article discussing a paper I wrote with Michael Volk, in which we try to find ways to keep doctors from harming patients by finding and then getting all worked up over what we in medicine call incidentalomas–unexpected and ultimately benign findings that show up with unnecessary tests. The article is in the Archives of Internal Medicine this week.
•  Should radiology ignore incidental findings?


Age and happiness – 12/18/2010

As we get ready to turn the clocks on a new year, it is good to remember that for most of us, our happiness increases with age. See this recent news article which talks about some of my old, ahem, research on aging and happiness.
•  The U-bend of life


Life or quality of life — what matters to oncologists? – 12/8/2010

Take a look at a brief summary of a new paper I just published, led by a wonderful medical student at Michigan, Michael Kozminski. It shows that oncologists seem to place far greater value on quantity of life over quality of life.
•   Oncologists value survival over quality of life, study finds


I Need to understand you better – 12/1/2010

I gave a talk as part of an ethics series here at Duke. Here is one take on my presentation. See if you can spot the Far Side reference!
•   I need to understand you better


Gender differences in career grant rates – 12/12/2009

My colleague, Dr. Reshma Jagsi, and I found in a recent study that women are less likely than men to receive major funding for scientific research.
•   Women researchers less likely to receive major career funding grants


Why aren’t women more interested in tamoxifen? – 12/4/2009

Dr. Angela Fagerlin, my colleague at the University of Michigan, and I (along with several other colleagues) recently published a research study, and the findings have caught the media’s attention! Our study found that many women who have a high risk of developing breast cancer are not interested in taking a drug called tamoxifen to reduce their chances of developing cancer because of the serious side effects.
•   High-risk women may often avoid using tamoxifen
•   Women wary of breast cancer prevention drug side effects


Recommendations = rationing? – 11/23/2009

Josh Gerstein delves into the debate that sprang up around the new breast cancer screening recommendations. I was able to provide some insight as to how and why people react drastically to such health-related information.
•   GOP: Breast exams show ‘rationing’


Acceptance and moving on – 11/10/2009

My research colleagues and I (at the Center for Behavioral and Decision Sciences in Medicine at the University of Michigan) published an article in Health Psychology that will be available online November 17th. Our study found that colostomy patients who felt that their condition was irreversible reported better quality of life than those patients who hoped that they would be cured.
•   Acceptance of chronic illness helps people move on
•   Research shows chronically ill might be happier if they gave up hope
Living in an uncertain world


How to pitch medical research to Democrats versus Republicans – 10/18/2009

My colleague, Dr. Sarah Gollust of the University of Pennsylvania, and I conducted an experiment to determine how people’s political beliefs are related to their attitudes towards health research and healthcare reform..
•   Why Americans disagree about healthcare reform
•   U of M study: Political beliefs and medical research


Free Market Madness – 1/29/2009

Michigan Radio’s Jack Lessenberry reviews my book, Free Market Madness.
•   Essay: Freedom


Concentrate Media profile – 10/1/2008

Jeff Meyers of Concentrate Media picks my brain!
•   Mastermind: Dr. Peter Ubel


Elevator talk gone wrong – 6/25/1995

A nice piece on some of my favorite past research.
•   When elevator etiquette takes a dive