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
More than 1,500 peer-reviewed studies have relied on a surgical database known as the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP), or its pediatric counterpart, the NSQIP-P.
These databases, set up by the American College of Surgeons, offer extraordinarily granular information about clinical variables and outcomes (as well as demographic information) for a wide range of surgical procedures. Continue reading
If you cover medical research related to vascular procedures and conditions, you’ve likely come across studies using data from the Society for Vascular Surgery Vascular Quality Initiative (SVS VQI).
As a database designed to improve patient safety, the SVS VQI can be very useful for analyzing outcomes and associated variable for 12 major vascular procedures as long as researchers (and journalists) are aware of the limitations of the data set. Continue reading
The first AHCJ conference I ever attended was in 2011 in Philadelphia. I had only recently learned about the organization and knew very little about it. I’d signed up for a field trip, but I had brought my 8-month-old with me and was up late the night before, so overslept and missed it.
When I actually got to the conference (my aunt watched my son), I caught the second half of a Thursday workshop with Ivan Oransky, M.D., (now AHCJ’s president) and Gary Schwitzer of HealthNewsReview.org on how to understand and responsibly report on medical studies. It was the session I would eventually end up leading myself years later. Continue reading
Content note: This blog post mentions sexual assault.
I read (and write) nonfiction all day long, so most of my me-time pleasure reading is limited to fiction. I recently made an exception on a friend’s recommendation and listened to the audiobook of Roxane Gay’s “Hunger,” as read by the author (which was important and relevant given its content).
It was not an easy book to listen to, but I’m so glad that I did — both personally and for my work as a journalist. I think it’s a book every health journalist ought to consider reading if they are able. (My reason for saying “if they are able” will become apparent shortly.) Continue reading
We’ve covered in another blog post what to be cautious about in scrutinizing an observational study that uses data from a massive database or dataset. And we’ve introduced a new section in the Data section of the Medical Studies Core Topic that describes characteristics and considerations of several large datasets that researchers may frequently use for such studies.
But sometimes you want to get really granular on deconstructing a study. Continue reading