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

Young father’s unexpected death highlights the dangers of dental infections

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 healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on oral health resources at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Vadim Anatoliyevich Kondratyuk and his daughters in an undated family photo before his death after complications from a dental infection.

Vadim Anatoliyevich Kondratyuk and his daughters in an undated family photo before his death after complications from a dental infection.

The recent story of a young California husband and father who died after suffering complications from a dental problem serves as a sad reminder of the important ties between oral health and overall health.

Vadim Anatoliyevich Kondratyuk, 26, a long-haul truck driver, was headed east to New York when he started feeling pain in the lower left side of his mouth.

“He pulled over in Oklahoma to see a dentist, who diagnosed an infection and prescribed antibiotics,” recounted health reporter Sammy Caiola in a Jan. 31 Sacramento Bee story. 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

How diabetes can add to the complications of aging

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in Kaiser Health News, The Atlantic.com, New America Media, AARP.com and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health, Media & Policy at Hunter College in New York City, and co-produces HealthStyles for WBAI-FM/Pacifica Radio.

Photo: Arctic Whirlwind via Flickr

Photo: Arctic Whirlwind via Flickr

Diabetes incidence among older adults is skyrocketing and it’s only going to get worse, according to the American Diabetes Association. Nearly 12 million adults over age 65 in the U.S. — about one-quarter of the population — now live with diagnosed or undiagnosed diabetes.

Untreated or poorly managed diabetes can lead to many other major health problems, such as heart disease, amputations, kidney failure and vision impairment. The condition also increases the risk for emergency department visits and hospitalizations, along with a greater risk of death. Continue reading

New reports show uninsured rate continued to drop in 2016

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.

Source: NCHS, National Health Interview Survey, 2010-2016, Family Care component, released February 2017.Data from the National Center for Health Statistics shows the rate of growth of high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) and consumer-directed health plans (CDHPs) since 2010. A CDHP is an HDHP with a tax-advantaged health savings account.

Source: NCHS, National Health Interview Survey, 2010-2016, Family Care component, released February 2017.Data from the National Center for Health Statistics shows the rate of growth of high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) and consumer-directed health plans (CDHPs) since 2010. A CDHP is an HDHP with a tax-advantaged health savings account. (Click to enlarge.)

A report released today by the National Center for Health Statistics indicates that the uninsured rate among Americans of all ages was 8.8 percent in the third quarter of 2016.

The report shows that in the first nine months of last year, 28.2 million Americans remained uninsured, and this number was 20.4 million fewer than those uninsured in 2010, the year Congress passed the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Continue reading