Tag Archives: medical decision making

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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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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Found: Billions of Wasted Medicare Dollars

It is well known that Medicare expenditures threaten the financial solvency of the U.S. government. And it is pretty well agreed upon that some of our Medicare spending goes towards wasteful medical care. But which medical care is wasteful and … Continue reading

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Genetic Testing Can’t Do Our Behavioral Dirty Work

Here is the opening of a recent media story, reporting on a noble attempt researchers made to promote colon cancer screening by telling people when their genetic risk of such cancer was elevated: People at average-risk for colorectal cancer (CRC) … Continue reading

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If Costs Are Unknown, Can Doctors Still Talk About Them?

I have been writing a bit lately on the need for healthcare providers to talk with their patients about healthcare costs, if for no other reason than to enable patients to determine whether they can afford to pay for the healthcare that … Continue reading

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