Category: Blogs

Cavalcade of Risk #17

published date
January 17th, 2007 by

Welcome to the 17th Cavalcade of Risk, a roundup of the best blogging on the topic of risk.

Not (specifically) health care

Risky opinions

To get us started, Brian Kim explains how to counteract the tendency toward risk aversion as we age. Think of risk as a journey of exploration rather than a one-shot do or die deal.

Between Heaven and Earth, an advocate for Chinese human rights, savors the risks China is creating for itself in hosting the 2008 Olympics. China won’t dare restrict ticket sales based on political views, so we may see little old ladies from Falun Gong doing tai chi in the stands as a protest.

Long or Short Capital has a tongue in cheek cure for global warming: convert greenhouse gases into tasty foods. (I fear this might lead to secondary emissions during digestion.)

New York Personal Injury Law Blog wonders what the heck the Port Authority was thinking at the George Washington Bridge. They’d planned to post Geico billboards promoting safe driving. But intentionally distracting drivers seems anything but safe. (The plan’s been canceled now.)

Pick your peril. Bradley Wright speculates on the relative risk of hand gliding and paragliding. (Probably both are riskier than looking at Geico signs.)

Nice try: State Farm refused to pay a couple in Biloxi after Katrina destroyed their home, arguing the damage was caused by a storm surge (not covered) rather than a tornado that occurred during the storm (covered). A judge sided with the couple. The FRAUDfiles blog explains the case.

Securities lawsuits are falling, and not even the options backdating scandals are enough to reverse the trend, according to Specialty Insurance Blog.

Walmart has figured out how to shift the risk of customer traffic fluctuations onto its employees. However, that may open the company to additional workers comp exposure. Workers’ Comp Insider explains why.

An overzealous financial institution sent Emergent Chaos’s author two letters confirming a change of address. Somehow the institution changed the address to ALL CAPS and triggered who knows how many pages of correspondence.

Tips and tricks

InsuranceHelpHub suggests ways to cut your car insurance. (You might as well save somewhere –it won’t be on your health insurance.)

Getting Green warns against debt consolidation and elimination companies. Through the immature magic of context-specific advertising, several Google ads for just such services are displayed alongside the post!

Want to save a million dollars? Better start now, says Bryan Fleming. Financial page notes that 44 percent of households are at risk for inadequate retirement assets, based on the National Retirement Risk Index, so get cracking.

Think you’ve covered your risk by buying insurance? Think again. The Digerati Life has tips on how to collect your claims, starting with sucking up to the company’s reps.

Health care

Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative Blog adds balance to a Business Week story on medical identity theft. Not only was one of the “new” frauds tested and rejected by Tony Soprano years ago, but the BW authors neglect to mention the ways e-health records can reduce the risks faced in a paper-based world.

Managed Care Matters describes the risks inherent in so-called consumer-directed health plans. Risk #1: the physician is the consumer!

Physicians commenting on my post admit directing patients to the ER in order to reduce their own risk of being sued. It’s rational for patients to second-guess their docs in such circumstances. Would you hire a lawyer or accountant who always provided the most conservative advice with the most expensive consequences?

Medicaid is supposed to be a safety net for the poor. If so, why are so many poor people uninsured? Check out InsureBlog to learn more.

Granting temporary privileges to physicians can lead to permanent problems for hospitals, according to MSSPNexus Blog.

Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield is making a smart move to obviate the need for universal health care coverage in Colorado, says Colorado Health Insurance Insider. Meanwhile Roth & Company thinks the Gubernator has lost his mind by proposing a tax to support universal health insurance. (Anthem, can you help?)

Catastrophic injury and traumatic brain injury are on the rise due to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, making it harder for the VA to fulfill its mission, reports the Sentinel Effect. (If the military keeps expanding we may end up with a single payer system as everyone becomes VA eligible.)

NitroMed obtained approval to market BiDil specifically for African American patients. Should the government be allowed to decide which races benefit from which drugs asks Healthcare Economist.

Want to reduce your chance of illness? Lose weight, Health Blog says.

Concluding thoughts

A saying I read twenty years ago in the New York Times comes to mind whenever I think of risk:

There are old mushroom hunters and there are bold mushroom hunters, but there are no old, bold mushroom hunters.

On the other hand, hosting the Cavalcade is low risk. Cav of Risk founder Hank Stern of InsureBlog supported me every step of the way, even hunting for posts to round out those that were submitted. If he asks you to host, just say yes!

Getting the hang of blog-related marketing

published date
December 18th, 2006 by

Marketers are trying to figure out how to use health care and medical blogs to pitch their products. A lot of the early attempts have been ham-handed, such as advertising for bariatric surgery on a cancer patient’s blog or surrounding posts that criticize drug makers with DTC ads for the drugs mentioned in the blog.

Thinklabs is being more intelligent with its sponsorship of this year’s Medical Weblog awards. The company is providing an electronic stethoscope as a prize, touting its sponsorship online and having its PR agency contact bloggers like me.

Clive Smith, Thinklabs’ CEO and a blogger himself, says in a press release:

Thinklabs’ electronic stethoscope helps doctors and nurses listen to their patients’ hearts and lungs with greater clarity. Blogs are the stethoscopes of the Internet, listening out for anything that doesn’t ring true, and bringing attention to problems that would otherwise go undetected.

Pretty clever positioning.

Just to make sure people are interested, Thinklabs is throwing in an iPod, which lets users record heart and lung sounds from the stethoscope… or listen to AC/DC while writing up patient reports.

Turning journal articles into comment-enabled blog postings

published date
October 17th, 2006 by

Turning journal articles into comment-enabled blog postings

Mickey reports in from the MedNet conference:

I was at a talk today at the MedNet conference by Jeffrey Ellis, MD, President of They have a site that takes the PubMed listings (with permission) and adds the ability to leave comments. The advantage is that comments can be made without having to get a letter to the editor accepted by the original journal; it treats articles like blog postings. The disadvantage is that content is separated from the original article and as with Amazon, people can review their own work (though you need to register to comment). Since you can use their site instead of PubMed the separation issue would not be a problem if everyone uses the site.
There was no discussion of the business model, and from a quick run through the site I didn’t get a sense of how they were planning on making it work financially.