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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Society for Science Based Medicine

I just joined this organization.

Overview
What is the Society for Science-Based Medicine?
  • A Society for a community of like-minded individuals, both in and out of health care, who support Science-Based Medicine.
  • People should not suffer, die and lose hope, time and money due to pseudo-medicine. 
The mission of the Society for Science-Based Medicine includes, but is not limited to,
  • Educating consumers, professionals, business people, legislators, law enforcement personnel, organizations and agencies about Science-Based Medicine.
  •  Providing resources and information for information concerning all aspects of Science-Based Medicine. Providing a central resource for communication between individuals and organizations concerned about Science-Based Medicine.
  • Supporting sound consumer health laws for the practice of Science-Based Medicine and opposing legislation that undermines Science-Based Medicine.
  • Encouraging and aiding legal actions in support of the practice of Science-Based Medicine.
Goals of the Society include, but are not limited to
  • Community
  • Education
  • SSBM blog
  • SSBM conference
  • SSBM podcast
  • SSBM wiki
  • Medical school core curriculum 
  • SSBM journal
  • ebooks
  • Legal and legislative advocacy 
This website has three levels of access:

As I've noted repeatedly, ScienceBasedMedicine.org has long been one of my priority daily web stops. I urge everyone involved with health care to join and contribute to SSBM. I will want to see them address some of the controversies generated by Health IT specifically. Accurate, timely, and necessary information is fundamental to doing good science. The anti-HIT ankle biters are legion and loud, but many of their concerns need to be taken seriously and addressed forthrightly.

I recently finished deep study of Mario Bunge's excellent "Medical Philosophy: Conceptual Issues in Medicine." I was alerted to it on SBM back in December.



See my December 4th post Philosophia sana in ars medica sana. I will soon begin connecting some dots between it and another of my serious favs, the Weeds' profound "Medicine in Denial."


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NEWLY FOLLOWING ON TWITTER



Well, apropos of "science based medicine," I'm looking into this author's book after running across her on Twitter. I've reached out to her. We'll see whether she responds.



Scientific "proof"? We shall see.
Introduction
What if I told you that caring for your body is the least important part of your health . . . that for you to be truly vital, other factors are more important? What if the key to health isn’t just eating a nutritious diet, exercising daily, maintaining a healthy weight, getting eight hours of sleep, taking your vitamins, balancing your hormones, or seeing your doctor for regular checkups?
Certainly, these are all important, even critical, factors to optimizing your health. But what if something else is even more important?
What if you have the power to heal your body just by changing how your mind thinks and feels?
I know it sounds radical, especially coming from a doctor. Trust me, I was just as skeptical when I first discovered the scientific research suggesting that this might be true. Surely, I thought, the health of the human body isn’t as simple as thinking ourselves well or worrying ourselves sick.
Or is it?
A few years ago, after 12 years of conventional medical education and 8 years of clinical practice, I had been thoroughly indoctrinated into the dogmatic principles of evidence-based medicine, which I worshipped like the Bible. I refused to trust anything I couldn’t prove with a randomized, controlled clinical trial. Plus, having been raised by my father, a very conventional physician who made fun of anything New Age, I was as hard-nosed, closed-minded, and cynical as they come.
The medicine I had been trained to practice didn’t support the idea that you can think yourself well or make yourself sick with the power of your thoughts and emotions. Sure, my medical school professors diagnosed some illnesses that lacked biochemical explanations as “all in the patient’s head,” but those patients were promptly and quietly referred to psychiatrists, while eyes were rolled and heads were shaken.
It’s no wonder the notion that the mind might have the power to heal the body would be threatening to many mainstream doctors. After all, we spend a decade learning the tools that supposedly give us mastery over other people’s bodies. We want to believe that the time, money, and energy we’ve put into becoming doctors isn’t wasted. We’re professionally and emotionally invested in the idea that if something breaks down physically, you must seek our expertise. As doctors, we like to believe we know your body better than you do. The whole medical establishment is based on such a notion.
Most people are happy to function within this paradigm. The alternative—that you have more power to heal your own body than you’ve ever imagined—lobs the responsibility for health back into your court, and many people feel like that’s just too much responsibility. It’s much easier to hand over your power and hope someone smarter, wiser, and more experienced can “fix” you.
But what if we’ve got it all wrong? What if, by denying the fact that the body is naturally wired to heal itself and the mind operates this self healing system, we’re actually sabotaging ourselves?
As physicians, things inevitably happen on our watch that science simply can’t explain. Even the most closed-minded doctors witness patients who get well when, by every scientific rationale, they shouldn’t. When we witness such things, we can’t help questioning everything we hold dear in modern medicine. We start to wonder if there is something more mystical at play...
Again, we shall see. The foregoing is from the free sample chapter. A few early yellow flags have popped up, but I don't want to be summarily dismissive.

First place I go any more is to the comments on Amazon. I first look at those with low rankings of any book in question. The "one stars" reviews in this case:
Here is the summary of what this book is trying to state:
1. Have a perfect life. If you don't have a perfect life, seek to make it perfect such as leave a difficult marriage, quit a stressful job, find the perfect partner, and so on.
2. If you don't have a perfect life and have stress you can't get away from then meditate as meditation can neutralise the effects of chronic stress. If you can't meditate, be mindful.
The book is well presented but to me that was all there was to it.
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I value Lissa's experience AND her work sounds very much like Andrew Weil's and Louise Hay's. If you are familiar with their works, you will find this to be more of the same. There is nothing original here in my opinion.
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Miserable...is how I felt the entire time I was reading this lousy book - but, I kept soldiering on, waiting for the good part, i.e. Lissa's blinding revelations on how to heal all the dysfunction that is so slavishly laid before us in the first 3/4 of the book. When I got there, all I could do is skim, muttering "Seriously? this is all you've got?"...
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Then I am sure you will think it is OK... or heck for the real naive in this arena even great as so many seem to have posted.
But the truth is... this is a 'copy-cat' book... in my estimation a very poor knock off... of everything that many others have said many years prior! i.e. Dr. Bernard Siegal - Louise Hay - Dr. Weil - Carolyn Myss - and the list could go on ad infinitum!
If you have ever taken a marketing class one of the first things you learn is... Hey Copy Cat works ... if it worked for someone else... copy it!!!
Then she throws in a bit on her own alleged minimal life disruption... which most of us wish we only had her troubles... She came from an incredibly supportive family... married to quote... the love of her life... and as she also admits has more money than she knows what do with... hard to feel sorry for the disruption she claims she overcame and that all of us should learn something from...
The book was a huge waste of my time and money... a total 'copy-cat' work.
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The only thing this book proves is that credulous people can be easily conned out of $20 by disingenuous hoaxsters like this fool. No peer-reviewed science, no tested claims, no cogent theories-- just "feel-good" nonsense that provides no real information of value. Save your money. Think twice about believing things that are too good to be true; usually, and in this case for sure, you're being lied to.
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If you want to read a book loaded with clich├ęs, that all has been written about before, give this a try. But Dr. Lisa just keeps on selling - don't rely on doctors - you can heal yourself, I have the answers - blah, blah, blah. But what about the people who have a genuine positive outlook but unfortunately still die? Did they just not try hard enough? What a message. And, she can't write. But you go, girl - make all your money before being found out to be the vacant yo-yo you are. Am I mad - yep, because I think she is dangerous - really dangerous to people seeking answers. She is no authority - just an old-fashioned shaman.
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A lot of pseudo-scientific claims with NO peer-reviewed evidence. Real scientists don't use words like "proof". Where's the theory? What variables are being tested? What or who is the control? What journal was this published in? Seriously, anyone who buys this feel-good pseudo-intellectual garbage deserves to be ripped off.

Ouch. The two- and three star comments aren't much more forgiving. When I read too many negative comments / rankings, it's usually a show-stopper for me, given that there are so many books to buy and study.

IN OTHER NEWS

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: CMS AND ITS CONTRACTORS HAVE ADOPTED FEW PROGRAM INTEGRITY PRACTICES TO ADDRESS VULNERABILITIES IN EHRS OEI-01-11-00571
WHY WE DID THIS STUDY
Electronic health records (EHRs) replace traditional paper medical records with computerized recordkeeping to document and store patient health information. Experts in health information technology caution that EHR technology can make it easier to commit fraud. For example, certain EHR technology features may be used to mask true authorship of the medical record and distort information to inflate health care claims. The transition from paper records to EHRs may present new vulnerabilities and require the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and its contractors to adjust their techniques for identifying improper payments and investigating fraud.
HOW WE DID THIS STUDY
We sent an online questionnaire to CMS administrative and program integrity contractors that use EHRs to pay claims, identify improper Medicare payments, and investigate fraud. We also reviewed guidance documents and policies on EHRs and fraud vulnerabilities that CMS and its contractors released for health care providers. Lastly, we reviewed documents on EHRs and Medicare claims that CMS provided to its contractors.
WHAT WE FOUND
CMS and its contractors had adopted few program integrity practices specific to EHRs. Specifically, few contractors were reviewing EHRs differently from paper medical records. In addition, not all contractors reported being able to determine whether a provider had copied language or overdocumented in a medical record. Finally, CMS had provided limited guidance to Medicare contractors on EHR fraud vulnerabilities.
WHAT WE RECOMMEND
Although EHR technology may make it easier to perpetrate fraud, CMS and its contractors have not adjusted their practices for identifying and investigating fraud in EHRs. Our report made two recommendations. First, CMS should provide guidance to its contractors on detecting fraud associated with EHRs. CMS could work with contractors to identify best practices and develop guidance and tools for detecting fraud associated with EHRs. Second, CMS should direct its contractors to use providers’ audit logs. Audit log data distinguish EHRs from paper medical records and could be valuable to CMS’s contractors when reviewing medical records. CMS concurred with our first recommendation and partially concurred with our second recommendation.
PDF link to the full report here. Chart "cloning" and "upcoding" have long been issues. We were aware of such potential all the way back in the DOQ-IT days, 2005-2007.
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KATRINACARE.GOV UPDATE
Accenture new lead contractor on Obamacare website
By Roberta Rampton and Eric Beech, Reuters
Accenture has been chosen to replace CGI Federal as the lead contractor on the Obamacare enrollment website, which failed to work when it launched in October for millions of Americans shopping for insurance, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said on Saturday.
CGI Federal, a subsidiary of CGI Group, built the website, HealthCare.gov, which struggled with error messages and slow speeds for weeks after its launch. The glitches created a political crisis for President Barack Obama, threatening the roll-out of his signature healthcare law and emboldening its foes among Republican lawmakers to call for its repeal.
"As CMS moves forward in our efforts to help consumers access quality, affordable health coverage, we have selected Accenture to become the lead contractor for the HealthCare.gov portal and to prepare for next year's open enrollment period," the agency said in a statement.
CGI Federal said on Friday that its contract, which was originally awarded in 2011 and is scheduled to end February 28, would not be renewed...
Good riddance to these people. I hope they're forced to return the federal money they've wasted.
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More to come...

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