Category Archives: Studies

Tip sheet suggests self-guided tutorial on understanding medical research

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: ibbl via Flickr

Photo: ibbl via Flickr

If you’re relatively new to reporting on medical studies or looking for a refresher as you dive back in after a long hiatus, Sharon Begley’s blog piece earlier this year and this quick-and-dirty refresher at AHCJ’s Medical Studies core topic area are great places to start.

But as you spend more time reporting on research, you need to learn more of the nuts and bolts and drill down into specifics of study design, drug approval, and related topics.

You need a Medical Research 201 rather than a 101. This new tip sheet explains one way to conduct a self-guided tutorial if you already feel comfortable with the basics. See the tip sheet.

Backers of water fluoridation get boost from Calgary studies

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health, curating related material at She welcomes questions and suggestions on oral health resources at

Tooth decay rates among children in Calgary, Canada have spiked in recent years.

The authors of two newly published studies say they suspect a decision by Calgary officials to discontinue the city’s water fluoridation program in 2011 could be to blame. Continue reading

Patient outcomes are among the most overlooked stories in health care

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

If you saw our November webcast on how consumers and payers can evaluate physician quality, you know that we began with a quote from Atul Gawande, M.D., about patient outcomes.

A professor of health policy and management at Harvard University and a prolific and gifted writer, Gawande is the best-selling author of “Being Mortal” and “The Checklist Manifesto.” He’s also a contributor for The New Yorker and other publications, writing about cardiologists in McAllen, Texas, super utilizers in New Jersey, and unnecessary care nationwide.

In short, he’s darn good at what we do. Continue reading

Workshop will help reporters translate medical research to audiences accurately

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

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

EBMEven if you only cover health care occasionally, you run across myriad medical studies and health claims. The results and claims often seem conflicting and confusing. But understanding evidence-based medicine will help journalists explore for their audiences the science and the policy decisions that impact lives.

The program is set and the speakers are confirmed for next month’s Journalism Workshop on Evidence-Based Medicine.

Sessions will include:

  • The connections and disconnections of science and policy
  • Getting up to speed on clinical studies
  • Research tools for evidence-based stories
  • How to report on scientific fraud
  • Understanding and reporting on screening evidence
  • Digging into statistics
  • How to use anecdotes and narratives while sticking to evidence

Continue reading

IOM spotlights diagnostic errors, continues call to improve patient safety

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

blood; laboratory; labs; venipuncture; serum; needle; medical; medical test; hospital; health; wellness; healthcare; sick; diagnostic; hospital; blood collection; tubes; illness; nurse; hands; gloves; arm; skin; sterile; sterilize; tourniquet

Photo: Lori Greig via Flickr

Efforts to improve health care quality and safety are mostly missing one significant source of concern: diagnostic errors, according to a report Tuesday from the Institute of Medicine. Improving Diagnosis in Health Care is the fourth in a series of IOM reports on patient safety.

In this Sept. 22 report, the IOM said that about 5 percent of U.S. adults who seek outpatient care experience a diagnostic error each year. Diagnostic errors contribute to about 10 percent of patient deaths, and account for about 6 percent to 17 percent of adverse events in hospitals. Continue reading