The dashboard is the potent symbol of our age. It offers the elegant visualization of data, and is intended to capture and represent the performance of a system, revealing at a glance current status, and pointing out potential emerging concerns.
Dashboards are the physical manifestation of the ideology of big data, the idea that if you can measure it you can manage it.
I am increasingly concerned, however, that the ideology of big data has taken on a life of it’s own, assuming a sense of both inevitability and self-justification. Continue reading
Often Wrong, Never in Doubt – Six Ways Assumptions Mislead Us – By Chuck Dinerstein — December 19, 2018
Facts are far harder to obtain than assumptions; they may require long periods of observations or expensive, sensitive measurement devices.
Assumptions can be made more easily, in the comfort of the office, frequently papering over or shaping missing data.
One of the unintended results of this approach is that given a limited set of facts, the strength of our conclusions is based upon our certainty in the strength of our assumptions.
Assumptions are just not as sexy as conclusions and are frequently overlooked in our haste to know or do – it is a variation of often wrong, never in doubt. Continue reading
Researchers investigated whether the criteria underpinning CMS’ opioid Overutilization Monitoring System could effectively pinpoint Medicare subscribers with opioid use disorder (OUD) or at high risk for overdose.
The program, launched in 2013, asks that plan sponsors take action—such as utilization review, case management, and dose-dependent safety alerts or reimbursement denials—when they do identify high-risk beneficiaries.
Here CMS is finally looking at outcomes of their policy. Meanwhile, the CDC, which even included a requirement to evaluate outcomes in its own guideline, has refused to do so.
I’m almost certain they fear that any outcome measurements will show how ineffective their guideline has been at stemming overdoses and how perversely effective it has been in harming pain patients. Continue reading
As our healthcare system shifts to corporate ownership, the drive to generate profits is destroying healthcare (and all other social services).
When decisions are made on a financial basis instead of patient welfare, inappropriate standardization is applied where human variety is critically important: the fluctuating biochemistry of our individual bodies and how they react to interventions.
Here are 3 PubMed studies showing how research is corrupted by financial motives:
Of all the hare-brained ideas states have implemented to clamp down on legal and medically appropriate opioids, California has come up with the worst:
Comb through the state’s PDMP for the last three years to find a link from someone who recently died from an overdose of illegal drugs to a doctor who prescribed them opioids up to three years ago, and threaten them with prosecution if the CA medical board doesn’t agree with some aspect of this long-ago prescription.
About a year ago, Dr. Ako Jacintho of San Francisco returned home from traveling to find a letter from the state medical board waiting for him. Continue reading
Many have critically examined the methodology of meta-analysis, and others have set standards for their execution. Despite such guidance, meta-analyses continue to proliferate, but we should ask: do they really contribute?
Esteemed organizations regard the conclusions of a well-executed meta-analysis as a higher level of evidence than a single well-done clinical trial.
This commentary explains why this cannot possibly be true. Continue reading
Curbing Rx opioids will have little effect on overdoses – comments from Stefan Kertesz on Twitter @StefanKertesz – Feb 2019
I previously posted about the study that just came out which estimates the future trajectory of the “opioid crisis” and finds little use for restricting legitimate prescriptions: Study: Limiting opioid Rx won’t reduce overdose deaths
1/With 3% of overdose deaths (9 of 269) in Jefferson Cty, Alabama due to prescription opioids, there is a limit to how many lives are going to be saved by extending the 7 year decline in Rx, as underscored in a new study by @LarochelleMarc https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2723405
If Shakespeare were alive today he would be hard-pressed to come up with a script that could match the tragedy that has been imposed on this country by
- self-appointed drug experts,
- self-serving politicians, and
- various other fools.
It’s that bad. And it was largely preventable. Continue reading
A new report analyzing the drugs involved in fatal overdoses once again emphasized fentanyl’s role in the United States’ opioid crisis and highlighted a point frequently made by public health experts:
Most people who fatally overdose
have more than one drug in their system.
In 2016, about 70 percent of fatal overdoses involving fentanyl or heroin involved another drug as well, and roughly 74 percent of fatal overdoses involving cocaine also involved one or more other drugs. Continue reading
Today’s Drug Abusers Did Not Derive From Yesterday’s Patients – By Jeffrey A. Singer – December 4, 2018
We learned last week that the 2017 drug overdose numbers reported by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention clearly show most opioid-related deaths are due to illicit fentanyl and heroin, while deaths due to prescription opioids have stabilized, continuing a steady trend for the past several years.
But the media and policymakers remain unshakably committed to the idea that the overdose crisis is the product of greedy pharmaceutical companies manipulating gullible and poorly-trained doctors into over-prescribing opioids for patients in pain and ensnaring them in the nightmare of addiction. Continue reading