What is HealthNewsReview.org?
HealthNewsReview.org is a website dedicated to:
- Improving the accuracy of news stories about medical treatments, tests, products and procedures.
- Helping consumers evaluate the evidence for and against new ideas in health care.
- The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is considered the gold standard of preventive health recommendations - including on screening tests. It.s a good source for journalists and consumers.
- About 70% of the stories reviewed from 2006-9 failed to adequately discuss costs, or to explain how big (or small) are the potential benefits and harms of treatments, tests, products and procedures.
- We have documented a disturbing trend of news stories taking an advocacy stance, promoting certain screening tests outside the boundaries of scientific evidence.
- Stories on new technologies like Cyberknife, DaVinci robotic surgery systems, and proton beam cancer therapy often fail to scrutinize the evidence and/or to discuss the costs involved.
- Rather than suggesting that everyone should be screened for everything, news stories could explain: "All screening tests cause harm; some may do good."
- The first 38 network TV network morning health news stories reviewed in 2009 earned an average score of 1.2 stars. 13 of the 38 stories got ZERO stars.
- Both TIME magazine and BusinessWeek have published terrific stories explaining the importance of the Number Needed to Treat - or NNT.
- Knowing relative risk reduction is like knowing you have a 50% off coupon but not knowing whether it's for a Lexus or a lollipop. Absolute risk reduction tells you what the "coupon" is worth. Read more.
- The website NoFreeLunch.org posts "a database of health care professionals who have pledged to accept no gifts from industry and to rely on non-promotional sources of information."
- To help journalists cover stories responsibly, we post a list of independent experts who state that they do not have financial ties to drug or medical device manufacturers.
- We apply the same ten standardized criteria to the review of every story.
- We have about 30 story reviewers. Each story is reviewed by 3 different people.
- Gary Schwitzer's seven words you shouldn't use in medical news: cure, miracle, breakthrough, promising, dramatic, hope, victim. Read why.
- Our reviewers include two former CNN medical reporters and a former editor of the Washington Post health section.