Report: Caregivers tackling complex medical tasks with little training

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in NextAvenue.com, Journal of Active Aging, Cancer Today, Kaiser Health News, the Connecticut Health I-Team and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University and co-produces the HealthCetera podcast.

Half of the nation’s 40 million family caregivers are performing complicated medical/nursing tasks for their family members and friends, including giving injections, preparing special diets, managing tube feedings, and handling medical equipment, according to a recent report from AARP. Additionally, 70% of these caregivers are dealing with the stress of managing pain relief amid a national opioid crisis. Continue reading

Confounding by indication case study 2: Hormonal contraception and risk of depression

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: Jess Hamilton via Flickr

I wrote in a previous blog about the importance of understanding confounding by indication and being sure to ask researchers about it when covering observational studies that appear to suggest a particular treatment or intervention might contribute to a specific effect. I’m passionate about this type of study bias because not considering it — which happens a LOT — can lead people to decline otherwise helpful treatments or leave them experiencing more harm and pain because of unfounded fears. Continue reading

AHCJ selects Austin for Health Journalism 2020

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 AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

Health Journalism 2020, the annual conference of the Association of Health Care Journalists, will take place in Austin, Texas, AHCJ has announced.

The conference, which draws attendees from across the United States and several other countries, is slated for April 30-May 3, 2020, at the JW Marriott in downtown Austin. Local sponsors include the University of Texas Dell Medical School, Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute and the St. David’s Foundation.

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Survey: People trust their smartphones more than hospitals with their personal 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, science and medicine for AFP, the Bay Area News Group, Modern Healthcare, Wired, Scientific American online and many other news outlets.

Photo: HP Samsung Terbaru via Flickr

Nearly half of consumers believe their personal health information is more secure on their personal electronic devices – smartphones, laptops and tablets – than it is on their health care providers’ computer systems.

This high level of mistrust in health entities’ handling of personal data is among the findings of a recent survey of 1,000 consumers by the cybersecurity firm Morphisec. Benjamin Harris of HealthcareITNews reported on the survey. Continue reading

Oral arguments and legal drama in the Texas v. United States ACA case

Joanne Kenen

About Joanne Kenen

Joanne Kenen, (@JoanneKenen) the health editor at Politico, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health reform and curates related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on health reform resources and tip sheets at joanne@healthjournalism.org. Follow her on Facebook.

On Tuesday, July 9, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments in the appeal of Texas v. United States.

The conventional wisdom, even among conservative legal scholars, is that the case was based on such a contorted legal theory that it should not be taken all that seriously.

Then, in December, U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor agreed with Texas and 17 other conservative states and declared the whole Affordable Care Act unconstitutional. Continue reading

Confounding by indication case study 1: Induction of labor and cesarean delivery risk

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 by mahalie stackpole via Flickr

One of the biggest challenges in teasing out possible causation or directionality of an exposure and an observed phenomenon, it’s essential to consider confounding by indication. Although it’s described in the Medical Studies Core Topic Key Concepts page, it’s such an important consideration in both evaluating medical studies and in formulating questions for them that it deserves a special call-out — again and again and again.

So I’m writing three blog posts with mini case studies of confounding by indication because I REALLY want to drive home how important it is that reporters covering observational studies think hard about all the possible reasons a correlation might exist between an intervention or exposure and a subsequent intervention, medical condition or negative effect. Continue reading