"Drowning from infoxication" - June 30 digest from HealthNewsReview.org
Trying to improve the public dialogue about health care
Drowning from infoxication
(health information intoxication)
That's a phrase I often use in my talks. This week I wrote, "We are losing people, drowning them in a sea of questionable or downright useless health information." Here is some of what motivated me to write that.
Last week I noted sharp reaction by smart readers to a couple of posts on the New York Times' "Well" blog - and I agreed with the readers.
A mouse fitness study was reported as if it had immediate implications for humans. I think we're losing people when we put mouse research on what's labeled as a personal health/wellness blog. I cite other examples on Time.com and Boston.com.
There was wide variation in the quality of journalism about a study touting 3-D mammography. I gave examples from two ends of the quality spectrum. It was a case study in what a difference independent perspectives, asking tough questions, and independently vetting claims - not just practicing journal stenography - can make for ensuring accuracy, balance and completeness in health care news. I was interviewed about this on the Healthstyles program of the Center for Health Media & Policy at Hunter College on WBAI radio in New York City.
From the UK, another gem from Dr. Richard Lehman's weekly BMJ journal review blog. "A bionic pancreas! The true and Holy Grail!" he proclaimed with tongue in cheek and pen in hand. Again, I provided examples on the spectrum of how that technology was reported: from breathless enthusiasm to simple context and caution about over-reaction.