Category Archives: Health data

Examining ‘alternative facts’ in patient data

Rebecca Vesely

About Rebecca Vesely

Rebecca Vesely is AHCJ's topic leader on health information technology and a freelance writer. She has written about health IT since the late 1990s for a variety of publications.

telehealthIn this era of “alternative facts,” everyone should read Sue Halpern’s piece, “They Have, Right Now, Another You,” published in the New York Review of Books in late December.

The piece, along with several recent studies on the accuracy of electronic health records, adds to the growing question over what types of data we can trust. And more important, how can we know the difference between bad and good data. Continue reading

Reporting team tackles lead scourge in Philly

Susan Heavey

About Susan Heavey

Susan Heavey, (@susanheavey) a Washington, D.C.-based journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on social determinants of health and curates related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on resources and tip sheets at determinants@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Jessica GriffinMore than 90 percent of the houses in Philadelphia were built before the 1978 lead paint ban. One here on Bonitz Street belonged to a family featured the Philadelphia Daily News’ project.

Photo: Jessica GriffinMore than 90 percent of the houses in Philadelphia were built before the 1978 lead paint ban. One, on Bonitz Street, belonged to a family featured in the project.

Reading through a recent story in the Philadelphia Daily News on lead plaguing the city’s houses, I realized the story had the same hard-driving investigative feel that I had read before.

The story, “Philly’s shame: City ignores thousands of poisoned kids,” paints a compelling multimedia picture of the historic city and the challenges it faces dealing with older homes shedding lead-tainted paint. Continue reading

Health data bazaar: Covering the legal trade in patient data

Rebecca Vesely

About Rebecca Vesely

Rebecca Vesely is AHCJ's topic leader on health information technology and a freelance writer. She has written about health IT since the late 1990s for a variety of publications.

cybersecurityThere’s a big focus these days on cybersecurity in health care, and rightly so, with the frequency and cost of data breaches.

But what about the legal trade in patient data?

Adam Tanner, a former Reuters reporter and now writer in residence at Harvard University’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science, has a new book out on the lucrative patient data industry. Continue reading

Flesh out your coverage of infectious diseases with historical data

Tara Haelle

About Tara Haelle

Tara Haelle (@TaraHaelle) is AHCJ's medical studies core topic leader, guiding journalists through the jargon-filled shorthand of science and research and enabling them to translate the evidence into accurate information.

Photo: Wellcome Images via Flickr

Photo: Wellcome Images via Flickr

Any time there is an outbreak of an infectious disease, the public wants to know how common it is and its risk of contracting it. When covering breaking cases, journalists should provide context by including information on historical incidence and trends.

Here are some resources for infectious diseases exclusively within the United States. Continue reading

You don’t have to wait for 2020 for U.S. Census health data

Susan Heavey

About Susan Heavey

Susan Heavey, (@susanheavey) a Washington, D.C.-based journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on social determinants of health and curates related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on resources and tip sheets at determinants@healthjournalism.org.

The U.S. Census Bureau offers data beyond the nation’s population. It has statistics on everything from health insurance and disability to veterans and HIV/AIDS. This map shows the proportion of doctor’s offices across the country. Source:“Number of People per Doctor's Office by County and Counties with No Doctor's Offices,” U.S. Census Bureau.

The U.S. Census Bureau offers data beyond the nation’s population. It has statistics on everything from health insurance and disability to veterans and HIV/AIDS. This map shows the proportion of doctor’s offices across the country. Source: “Number of People per Doctor’s Office by County and Counties with No Doctor’s Offices,” U.S. Census Bureau.

The nation’s next population count won’t come until 2020, but in the meantime reporters can use the U.S. Census Bureau to find a host of data related to health disparities, including income, poverty status, race, age, gender and housing.

We have created this tip sheet to help AHCJ members search for information and spot trends as they cover stories whether nationally or in a particular state, county or city. You can even search by ZIP code. Continue reading