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David Zigmond: Payments for diagnosing dementia—what are the hidden costs?

21 Nov, 14 | by BMJ

david_zigmond2Payment by results in matters of complex welfare can easily subtract from, rather than add to, our greater good. The recent and mooted NHS initiative for payment by results—to pay GPs £55 for each new dementia diagnosis—matches any folly in our contemporary gallery of well intentioned welfare misconceptions.

This fresh folly draws from these simplistic assumptions: that dementia is an illness that is underdiagnosed and undertreated; that doctors are undermotivated to address these problems; and that financial incentives will substantially change our burdens from dementia. more…

Paul Laboi: Making dialysis care more person centred

21 Nov, 14 | by BMJ

PaulLaboiIt’s increasingly recognised that empowering people to take a greater role in managing their healthcare is beneficial for both patients and healthcare professionals, especially for those living with long term conditions. Evidence shows that many people enjoy taking an active role in their treatment, and that doing so can lead to better outcomes and improved quality of life.

Take the example of people living with kidney disease, 20 000 of whom receive dialysis in the UK each year. Kidney dialysis is an essential but demanding procedure, which removes waste and excess fluid from the blood. It usually takes three to four hours at a time, three times a week. more…

Will Stahl-Timmins: Data visualisation is beautiful

21 Nov, 14 | by BMJ Group

will_Stahl-TimminsDavid McCandless’ talk at the Royal Statistical Society

David McCandless is perhaps the best ­known information graphic designer of our time. He exploded onto the design stage a few years ago with the coffee­ table book Information is Beautiful, and quickly set about establishing a corresponding website and awards, which have just announced its third set of winners. He has recently released a second book, Knowledge is Beautiful, and has been giving a number of talks to showcase the new work contained within this colourful tome.

As The BMJ’s resident data graphics designer, I dutifully booked myself a seat at his talk at the Royal Statistical Society to see what health­ related graphics he might be presenting. more…

The BMJ Today: Sex, babies, and future plans

21 Nov, 14 | by BMJ

sally_carterI don’t get out much, but with blogs like the one by Nigel Hawkes to read, I don’t feel I need to. It gave me a great picture of the latest exhibition at the Wellcome Collection in London, which is about sexuality and the scientists who studied it . He writes, “ . . . at the heart of the exhibition are the sexual explorers, from Magnus Hirschfeld to Masters and Johnson.” And they seem a strange bunch. more…

Chris​ Simms: What can Senegal teach the West about dealing with Ebola?

20 Nov, 14 | by BMJ

Chris_simsTen years ago, Peter Piot (the discoverer of Ebola) wrote the foreword to a collaborative effort on HIV strategies by nearly 200 scientists. He warned that an effective country response to the epidemic requires adherence to the so called “Three Ones” principle: a single national strategy, coordinated by one agency, and supported by one monitoring and evaluation framework. This advice applies as much to the Ebola crisis as it did to HIV—in rich and poor countries alike. more…

Khaled E Emam: Pseudonymous data is not anonymous data

20 Nov, 14 | by BMJ

khaled_e_emamRecently, efforts have been made to make health data more generally available for secondary purposes, including research. These include the recent policy announcements from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) on making clinical trials data available, industry efforts to do the same, as well as care.data in the UK.

All of these are premised on being able to anonymize the data properly before it is shared, and in a manner that will meet multiple requirements: (a) ensure that the probability of re-identifying individual patients is small, (b) meet the regulatory and legal thresholds for what is an anonymized data set, and (c) ensure that the anonymized data quality is sufficiently high to allow meaningful analysis. more…

Nigel Hawkes: Searching for truth behind the taboos—or how science demystified sex

20 Nov, 14 | by BMJ Group

nigel_hawkesSerious students of sex, from Krafft-Ebing onwards, have not always had an easy time, possibly because some of them were distinctly odd. A new exhibition at the Wellcome Collection in London, The Institute of Sexology, explores the world of those brave pioneers through documents, photographs, letters, films, and objects that trace the gradual unveiling of sexual behaviour by science. more…

The BMJ Today: Tweet, share, and like

20 Nov, 14 | by BMJ

Emma-ParishOne of my personal goals this year was to become more tech savvy and engage with social media. I already had a Facebook account. I even had a Twitter account, but felt my interest was, well, quite shallow as I basically used it to hear the occasional ponderings of my old teenage heartthrobs.

So, imagine my delight when I read how much serious good can be done with this technology. In her feature, Meg Carter reports how Twitter may have helped Nigeria contain Ebola. Through the campaign @EbolaAlert, Lawal Bakare, a Nigerian dentist, shared information with 76 000 followers, connecting them with public health advice from the World Health Organization. more…

What’s the leading cause of death among children in Bangladesh? It’s not what you think

19 Nov, 14 | by BMJ

Jocalyn_Clark1The Millennium Development Goal (MDG) program focused needed attention on unacceptably high levels of child deaths across the world, dedicating its MDG4 target to reducing the under 5 mortality rate by two thirds by 2015. Considerable gains have been achieved overall and many countries are on track toward that target.

Beneath the overall trends are more specific ones. These deserve more attention. This month a remarkable and unprecedented new dataset of individual deaths across the developing world sheds light on often hidden trends. more…

Billy Boland: Final thoughts on the NHS Leadership Academy

19 Nov, 14 | by BMJ

billy_bolandHaving made my final submission for the NHS Leadership Academy, and after being told I’ve passed the course by my learning set, the programme should be in the bag. That is unless there are any last minute surprises from the validating board coming up.

I’ve always enjoyed the space between handing in coursework and getting my results. Given that I don’t yet officially know my fate, I thought now would be the right time to give my reflections on the programme as a whole. Here are some things to think about (Dos and Don’ts) if you’re considering applying yourself: more…

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