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US highlights

Glyn Elwyn et al: Crowdsourcing health care—hope or hype?

29 Apr, 14 | by BMJ

The Dartmouth Center for Health Care Delivery Science

How does the increasing interest in the use of crowdsourcing platforms, as a way to help patients, fit into the debate about personal health information and the desire for confidentiality? Social media platforms have redefined how people interact with each other, but could it be that health issues might need to be handled differently? There might well be wisdom in crowds, but how can this be safely harnessed when dealing with health problems? We convened a seminar at Dartmouth, where three short case studies of crowdsourcing relevant to health care were debated. more…

Paul Glasziou: Beware the hyperactive therapeutic reflex

22 Jul, 13 | by BMJ

Nearly 15 years ago when I first presented the results of our systematic review on antibiotics for acute otitis media, one paediatrician snarled, “You’re making it too complicated. It’s simple: otitis media is an infection; the treatment of infection is antibiotics.” So that was that. The art of therapeutics could be boiled down to a simple reflex: right diagnostic label -> right treatment. As a young GP researcher I felt slightly bruised by the comment, but I’m now thankful for the stimulus to consider why we need more nuanced approaches to treatment. Diagnosis is an important, though not always essential, first step. Individual treatment involves knowing more than the label though. Tolstoy noted that, “No two unhappy families are unhappy in the same way,” which is true not only for mental illness, but nearly all illness. Typical cases are the rarity. more…

Pritpal S Tamber: Health 2.0 and academia—reconciling experimentation and protectionism

11 Jul, 13 | by BMJ

This week I attended a Health 2.0 London event on mobile sensors. The title of the event asked if they were key to remote patient monitoring. I think the answer is an obvious yes; without them it’s not going to be possible. But I’m not sure the event was asking the right question. For me, the question is how we derive actionable knowledge from all the data that we might amass.

There were two accelerometer-based devices on display, Fitbug and Withings; one service that lets you pool all your accelerometer-based activity onto one website, Tictrac; and one mobile heart monitor, AliveCor. more…

Martin McShane: Integrated reflections

22 Nov, 11 | by BMJ Group

Martin McShaneSir William Osler advocated the concept of a “quinquennial brain dusting“: which was my justification for taking a week out to visit some integrated care organisations on the West Coast of the USA, with a group from the NHS.

I know we feel challenged in the UK, but the scale and nature of the challenge in the USA made me wonder whether we shouldn’t really count ourselves lucky. The system there is definitely not one to be emulated. International comparators reveal high costs, inequity and, overall, poor outcomes for the population in general. Public spending in the USA covers 30% of the population and represents 8% of GDP. The UK spends 7.8% of GDP on the NHS, for 100% of the population. more…

US Highlights – 8 October 2010

8 Oct, 10 | by BMJ Group

Fiona GodleeWe’ve been working on how to help specialists make better use of our content. So this week we’re launching the first of what will be a series of specialty portals available on These three new portals focus on diabetes, oncology, and clinical trials, pulling together everything we’ve published on those topics in the BMJ, our specialist BMJ Journals, BMJ Learning, and our clinical community doc2doc. They also provide links to relevant specialty jobs from BMJ Careers. more…

US highlights 1 October 2010

1 Oct, 10 | by BMJ Group

Fiona GodleeA few weeks ago, I drew your attention to blogger Richard Lehman’s weekly review of general medical journals, a personal appraisal and one-stop shop of what’s interesting for primary care doctors.

As well as Richard’s selection, we also have our own “Shortcuts,” a weekly section that provides concise summaries of articles from general medical journals. more…

US highlights – 3 September 2010

3 Sep, 10 | by BMJ

Fiona GodleeAfter months of preparation, has just moved to a new technical platform. The website looks different and has many new and improved features. However, a few features and functions are not yet working as intended, so please do not be disappointed if things look unfamiliar or seem frustrating. We are working hard to rectify any problems, and we hope you will like the new Below is a selection of what you can find there this week. more…

US highlights – 27 August 2010

27 Aug, 10 | by BMJ

Fiona GodleeFurther on in this blog, columnist Douglas Kamerow focuses on the seeming competition for funding among US health prevention programs (“Smoking versus obesity: must we target only one?”). But individuals can make a contribution too, rather than relying exclusively on politicians and government reforms to support public health measures. Elizabeth Loder, the BMJ’s US based clinical epidemiology editor, blogs about a charity dinner hosted by an organic farm business in an affluent suburb of Boston, which brings its super-crop of luxury tomatoes to less fortunate parts of the population, at drastically reduced prices: “Brookwood Farms, it turns out, is on a mission, in partnership with the Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition. The aim is to make fresh, organic local produce available and affordable to the residents of Mattapan, an area of Boston that meets many criteria for being a ‘food desert.’ … I’m sure this particular dinner achieved its purpose. I know I will be making a contribution to Brookwood. Who can eat such magnificent food and not be moved to help make its ingredients available to all? The event got me thinking that while homegrown tomatoes are a great thing, so is homegrown charity. Americans are used to giving generously to charitable efforts around the globe, but pockets of great need and deprivation exist right here. Contributing to a local effort such as Brookwood may not seem as glamorous as contributing to global causes espoused by celebrities, but it surely merits more attention than it currently receives. Perhaps, like the best tomatoes, the best sort of charity is also homegrown.” Food for thought? more…

US highlights – 20 August 2010

20 Aug, 10 | by BMJ

Fiona GodleeThe BMJ has a new policy of asking authors of eligible research articles to pay a publication fee.  It only applies when the funder has already pledged to pay for open access publication and when authors can claim from their funder, the BMJ fee, in full, for that specific piece of research.

The move does not affect the journal’s publication policy. All submitted research will continue to be judged entirely on its importance, originality, quality, and relevance, and all research will remain openly accessible, regardless of whether a fee has been paid for its publication. more…

US highlights – 13 August 2010

13 Aug, 10 | by BMJ

Fiona GodleeThe focus at our daily planning meetings this week has not been the UK, nor indeed the US, but the natural disasters engulfing the world. Smog in Russia, flooding and fears of a cholera outbreak in Pakistan, the murder of aid agency workers in Afghanistan, including British doctor Karen Woo.

Visit for the regular updates on these stricken areas. On BMJ blogs, Vasiliy Vlassov, Professor of Medical Sciences at the Moscow Medical Academy, describes how the smog is affecting local health services. And on doc2doc, BMJ Group’s clinical community for doctors worldwide, Saqib Noor, blogs from Pakistan about the situation there. Some of you may have read his earlier blogs from Haiti. Read his posts at more…

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