Tag Archives: medical decision making

The Question Isn’t Whether We Are Overdiagnosing Cancer, But How Much

Medical experts now agree that as a result of aggressive screening programs, we have an epidemic of cancer overdiagnosis in the United States. With mammograms finding tiny cancers and PSA tests discovering unpalpable prostate cancers, we are now unearthing some … Continue reading

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If You Look for Cancer, You’ll Find It

What would you like first: the good news or the bad news? Let me start with the bad. Life expectancy among patients in the U.S. with thyroid cancer lags behind that in Korea. In fact, the vast majority of patients … Continue reading

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Millions To Be Made On…Generic Drugs?

It is well accepted among health economics wonks that the lion’s share of pharmaceutical company profits come when these companies hold exclusive rights to their products. Once their blockbuster pills go “generic,” competitors enter the marketplace and profits plummet. Consider … Continue reading

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The Hidden Psychology of Antibiotic Prescribing

Experts in decision psychology and behavioral economics have conclusively shown that humans, those silly creatures, are not always rational decision makers. They let unconscious forces influence their thinking, and not always for the better. But of course, doctors aren’t human. … Continue reading

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The High Price of Affordable Medicine

In the old days, blockbuster drugs were moderately expensive pills taken by hundreds of thousands of patients. Think blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes pills. But today, many blockbusters are designed to target much less common diseases, illnesses like multiple sclerosis … Continue reading

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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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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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