Many, many years ago I walked into a newsroom and was given a writing test. More specifically, a synthetic news story to write. The gist of the story was informed by a fake police report about a car crash. There were three citizens involved--and all were killed at the scene. But here was the paradox. One of the deceased was a prominent business man with lots of local cache and buildings bearing his name. How do you write the story?
Whatever I chose to do at the time didn't lead me into a career as a local beat reporter but that certainly begs the question. Especially in our modern world where stories are only as important as the volume of clicks in a digital popularity contest. If the right answer a decade and a half ago was to report all casualities equally--I think we can agree that would not be the case now. Some casualties make better headlines--and drive more revenue. Just ask John Oliver... a wee bit of scatological language so be warned.
You probably recognize that many of the issues and concerns that should be driving the work we do in medical education, journalism, and healthcare in general--may not be popular. I recently attended the Alzheimer Association International Conference on the periphary because although I am a credentialed journalist, I prefer to not work on assignment.
The refusal to pitch a story and stick to the story come what may, never has appealed to me. Confirmatory bias anyone? I prefer to find stories as the actual event unfolds. For example, I was reading a press release where the "journalist" sensationalized the findings neglecting a prime opportunity to question the study design, population size, and or outcomes. Less Blind Faith and More Humble Doubt challenges a few of the unasked questions but my goal is not to demonize--it is to inform. We all need to ask questions and question answers.
Complimentary registration for news media is available only to credentialed journalists, with assignment, from recognized external print, broadcast, syndicated or online news organizations. News media outlets must be in existence and regularly (daily/weekly) covering health-related topics, including brain science/research, for at least six months to be eligible to send journalists to AAIC.--AAIC 2016 Media Registration
I live the dilemma of choosing what should be discussed and what many would prefer to read instead. Anodyne stories from the center--don't mention any naked emperors. A recent blog post caused many to abandon ship. The topic was clearly a hot button issue--continuing medical education and how bias may influence the quality of the evidence.
Two years ago when I launched a blog I was just a girl with a dream. Provided with unique access to national statistics meetings at NIH, health policy discussions at Brookings, and advisory council discussions with physician leaders challenged to make a difference--I looked forward to sharing insights.
Afterall, the healthcare ecosystem is changing and we are unable to ignore the importance of economics and policy decisions in guiding the future of healthcare. The hum of value-based-care is beginning to resonate--good or bad.
At a recent meeting about the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA)--the rallying cry was "we" need to do this, and "we" need to that, I quietly asked whom were they referring? It sounded like the "royal we" not a sincere attempt to evolve the landscape of alternative payment models.
Where are the storytellers? Are they influenced by catchy headlines that will sell papers? Promises of false cures instead of effective treatments, screening the masses instead of learning about individual risks and probabilities or are we asking questions. Pending zombie apocalypses make money and feed our fears.
Gather around dear readers...we have stories to tell.
Thoughtful discussions about content development and outcomes analytics that apply the principles and frameworks of health policy and economics to persistent and perplexing health and health care problems...
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In a world of "evidence-based" medicine I am a bigger fan of practice-based evidence.
Remember the quote by Upton Sinclair...
“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!”