At a developer conference hosted at the White House last week, six of the biggest tech companies issued a joint statement in support of health IT interoperability. It’s another sign that tech behemoths are serious about taming the vast and often unmanageable health data ecosystem – and getting their piece of it.
It’s only a matter of time before a patient is harmed through medical device hacking, and journalists have many resources to probe whether their local health providers are able to prevent or respond to such an event, said a panel of experts at Health Journalism 2018 in Phoenix.
To date, there are no documented cases of patients harmed by medical device hacking, said panel moderator and independent journalist Mark Taylor. But reporters should be asking their local hospitals about this specific cybersecurity threat. Continue reading
Medical devices — and the unrecognized or undisclosed risks some of them have — have been in the news quite a bit over the past few years, especially in the area of women’s health. The death of physician and activist Amy Reed last spring (and the push back she experienced from her advocacy) again drew attention to the dangers of power morcellation during gynecologic laparoscopies. Power morcellation during surgery has been used for two decades, but the research showing that they risk spreading an undetected cancer took much longer to appear, and controversy continues over the technique. Continue reading
The Washington Post has taken a post-election look at 15 major industries in a story aptly titled, “Mr. Business Goes to Washington. NOW WHAT?” The overview was written by Thomas Heath, with health care industry input from Carolyn Johnson.
The Post story divided industries into “winners” (assuming no major recession) and “it’s complicated.” Health care – naturally – fell under “complicated.” Continue reading
Robotic surgery has exploded in popularity in recent years, but is that because it actually improves patient outcomes over traditional surgery methods or because of marketing campaigns? That is one of the questions Laura Beil dove into in her award-winning story for Men’s Health, “What’s Wrong With Robotic Surgery?”
In a story that involved months of reporting, Beil “used FDA and legal documents to explore concerns over the safety” of a prostate robotic surgery procedure and wove together her findings “into one concise narrative that engaged and informed Men’s Health readers.”
The reporting required FOI requests for adverse events from surgery (along with documents related to recent inspections and findings), legal documents from malpractice lawsuits and a class action suit against the manufacturer, and dozens of scientific studies to determine whether robotic surgery represented an advance in treatment.
Beil also describes the pushback after publication, adding that posting corporate responses online is a powerful way to expose unjustified pushback. Read about how she did her reporting.
British clinics delivering cosmetic surgery were thrown into crisis by the decision last month of the French government to fund the removal of thousands of breast implants manufactured by the now-closed French company Poly Implant Prostheses (PIP). The implants were found to have used industrial grade silicone made for use in mattresses. Continue reading