Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The most unheralded posts of 2012

It is customary for bloggers to highlight their most popular posts at year's end (see, for example, this recent compilation of posts from the AFP Community Blog, several of which subsequently appeared on Common Sense Family Doctor), but this year I've decided to buck the trend. Instead, below are links to six of this year's "unheralded" posts that weren't read as much as I thought they deserved. If you missed any of these, I hope you enjoy them the second time around. Thank you for reading, and have a very happy New Year!

1. The best colorectal cancer screening test is the one that gets done (May 21)

Not only does screening colonoscopy cost a lot more money, it hasn't been shown to be more effective than flexible sigmoidoscopy. In fact, screening colonoscopy has never even been tested in a randomized trial, and may never be.

2. Changing unhealthy habits requires changing environments (June 4)

Strategies to stabilize, and eventually, reverse, national obesity rates will need to change obesity-promoting environments on the individual and community levels.

3. How would you rate your health care team? (June 7)

One way for physicians to meet the health care needs of a burgeoning and increasingly complex patient population is to delegate many of their traditional responsibilities - such as patient education, lifestyle counseling, medication titration, and medication-adherence counseling - to other health professionals.

To make a fully informed medical decision, whenever a doctor says, "Test X will reduce your risk of disease X (or death from disease X) by 20 percent," patients should always ask, "20 percent of what"?

Hospitals and large specialty practices have financial and material resources, while community health centers have the experience and know-how to manage care for high-risk patients with chronic conditions who generate a disproportionate share of health care costs.

People are fallible, but health systems need not be. Despite the staggering complexity involved in flying passenger jets and constructing skyscrapers, commercial airline accidents are rare and building collapses even rarer. (So it should be in health care, also.)