Category Archives: Health data

How two U.S. health agencies are examining social determinants

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 susan@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: CDC/Emily WeyantTwo federal health agencies are tackling social issues related to healthcare. Results from other studies are available at the library of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Photo: CDC/Emily WeyantTwo federal health agencies are tackling social issues related to health care. Results from other studies are available at the library of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Data is the new king of journalism, but when it comes to some aspects of the social sciences – such as the social determinants of health – the numbers can be a bit tricky to nail down.

That may be changing. The U.S. Department of Health recently announced two separate initiatives targeting health disparities.

First, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) this month announced a pilot program to tie medical services for beneficiaries to housing, food, transportation and other social services. Continue reading

Looking back at 2015 on Covering Health

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates social media efforts of AHCJ and assists with the editing and production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

top-25Bacon, chocolate, vaccines and Mark Cuban: Those were the topics of some of the most-read Covering Health posts of 2015.

Of course there was plenty of reporting about health reform, the business of health care, medical research and quality of life as the population ages. We also had some important posts addressing special concerns of freelance health and medical writers.

If you find yourself stuck waiting in a line or an airport over the holidays, you might take a look back and see if these posts spark any ideas for your future reporting. Continue reading

Initiative aims to use browsing histories to improve Wikipedia health content

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: rosefirerising via Flickr

Photo: rosefirerising via Flickr

It’s well known that Google, Facebook and dozens of other companies mine the browsing histories of their users and use that data for advertising. But imagine what we might learn if we homed in on the browsing history of medical students browsing clinical research sites during their studies?

That’s exactly the idea behind a new browser extension called Batea, recently released by the company DocGraph. Continue reading

Stat details failure of research institutions to submit required study reports

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates social media efforts of AHCJ and assists with the editing and production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

Photo: Lydia Polimeni, National Institutes of Health via Flickr

Photo: Lydia Polimeni, National Institutes of Health via Flickr

A Stat investigation has found that “prestigious medical research institutions have flagrantly violated a federal law requiring public reporting of study results, depriving patients and doctors of complete data to gauge the safety and benefits of treatments.”

The violations have left gaping holes in a federal database used by millions of patients, their relatives, and medical professionals, often to compare the effectiveness and side effects of treatments for deadly diseases such as advanced breast cancer.

Continue reading

Atlanta journalist finds one series leads to another … and another … and another

Joseph Burns

About Joseph Burns

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health insurance. He welcomes questions and suggestions on insurance resources and tip sheets at joseph@healthjournalism.org.

Misty Williams

Misty Williams

Cover health care, or any beat, long enough and most journalists will discover that one story leads naturally to another.

Misty Williams (@ajchealthcare), who covers health care for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, has taken that concept to another level. She found that one series of articles leads to another.

In a new How I Did It for healthjournalism.org, Williams explained that in the spring of last year, she began work on a series to outline how the Affordable Care Act was affecting Georgia consumers. In that series, she reported that 400,000 state residents made too much money to qualify for Medicaid but also too little to receive tax subsidies for health insurance on the federal marketplace. Georgia is one of 19 states that has not expanded Medicaid under the ACA. Continue reading