There is a line in the Spiderman Homecoming movie that cracks up my boys. Tony Stark mentions that there are journalists waiting behind a door--then he adds, real ones--not bloggers. Billionaire genius and playboy aside--I think he may be on the wrong side of history.
I think the main difference, at least in my case, between a journalist and a blogger might be the lack of a traditional mast head, no assigned stories (I don't accept them), and a singular interest in teasing out the healthcare complexities, potential solutions, and industry adjacent insights we ignore at our own peril.
You might be surprised how the pendulum is swinging. The majority of conferences I attend (98%) I do not pay for access. I register as press, they take a look at my platform--they invite me as media. I belong to the AHCJ, NASW, and IRE. I intentionally didn't hyperlink. Go flex your journalistic muscles and hunt down the organizations.
The Investigative Reporters & Editors Journal is a treasure trove. If you are approved for membership you also get a 3 year Tableau Desktop license. They are serious about serving their members.
So where is all this data?
A recent IRE journal article titled A Practical Guide for the Data Prepper made me think of creating something similar for health economics, policy, and clinical medicine.
I use a wide variety of government databases, non-proprietary and non-proprietary databases in medicine, and a handful of other sources for data. But maybe you should consider creating your own database--an up to date resource ready to go when you need relevant data to inform your content.
US Census Bureau
Social determinants of health are a critical backdrop to narratives on healthcare, disease status, and economics. I rely quite heavily on the American Community Survey and a wide variety of specific variables. If you are interested in quicker access and can afford a small fee, Public Insight provides access to connected datasets and includes tutorials.
Federal Adverse Event Reporting (FAERS) is an important tool to track post-market adverse event signals--described as pharmacovigilance. Here are a few blog entries that provide context to how it can be engaged. It shouldn't be used to single-handedly to describe a drug profile but it is a useful tool to add to discussions.
MedDRA or its less familiar name, medical dictionary for regulatory activities, is an important companion to databases that report safety signals.
MedDRA can be used to analyse individual medical events (e.g., “Influenza”) or issues involving a system, organ or etiology (e.g., infections) using its hierarchical structure. MedDRA can be used for signal detection and monitoring of clinical syndromes whose symptoms encompass numerous systems or organs using its multiaxial hierarchy or through the special feature of Standardised MedDRA Queries.
Learn how to code MedDRA or reach out for guidance. It is a subscription service but nothing outside a reasonable data budget. I only recommend free or modestly priced resources--I collaborate with boots on the ground companies--far outside the $20,000 per month data services.
Here is one more resource for population survey data (social, economic, and health research). I serendipitously discovered IPUMS CPS while attending a health statistics conference at the NIH. You might need a higher level of skills to navigate freely but it is worth a focused effort to soften the learning curve.
If you are going to be attending any of the conferences below, let me know @datamongerbonny. We often have impromptu discussions about data, share meals, or cocktails. I like to call it a periodic table--popping up from time to time.