Paul Hsieh

 

My latest Forbes column is now up, “Three Good Things In Health Care Innovation“.

I highlight some under-appreciated good developments in health care, centered around the theme that innovations in processes may be less flashy than innovations in technology — but can still save lives.

In particular, I discuss the following:

1) Improvements in cardiac care

2) Improvements in matching kidney transplant donors with recipients

3) Protecting the freedom of direct pay doctors

Our current system is very mixed, with both good and bad elements. Today, I wanted to focus on some of the good elements.

For more details on each, read the full text of “Three Good Things In Health Care Innovation“.

 

A Radiologist’s Day

 Posted by on 10 June 2015 at 2:00 pm  Funny, Medicine, Technology
Jun 102015
 

As a radiologist, I really appreciated this comic “A Radiologist’s Day“.  You can click on the image below to see the full-sized version.

(And I bought the shirt at CafePress.)

 

I posted a quick piece last weekend at Forbes, “Would You Trust A Computer To Knock You Out?

This is loosely based on a talk I just gave at ATLOSCon 2015, “I, For One, Welcome Our New Robotic Overlords“.

I discuss the rise of “smart” systems to augment (and potentially replace) human physicians. And why I welcome them.

And thanks to Hanah Volokh for letting me quote her!

 

 

Note from Diana: Sorry that I didn’t post this announcement when the column was published! I didn’t realize that it was in the queue.

My latest Forbes column is now up: “Perverse Incentives and VA Health Scandals“.

I discuss the perverse incentives underlying the numerous VA health scandal. Too many on the political Left (such as New York Times columnist Paul Krugman) are quick to condemn perverse incentives in the private health system, while failing to mention similar (or worse) perverse incentives in government-run health systems.

Incentives matter.

 

Note from Diana: Sorry that I didn’t post this announcement when the column was published! I didn’t realize that it was in the queue.

My latest Forbes column discusses the latest debate over raising the legal age for smoking: “Smoking Is Bad, But 18-Year-Olds Should Be Allowed to Smoke“.

In particular, any debate on this should include the following three questions:

1) Is it the government’s job to stop legal adults from making unhealthy life choices?

2) Is it right for the government to restrict the freedom of adults over 18, because others under 18 might be more tempted to smoke?

3) Whose body is it, anyways?

People don’t always make the best choices for themselves.  But in a free society, they should be able to do so, provided they aren’t violating the rights of others.

 

 

Blackman On Net Neutrality

 Posted by on 11 May 2015 at 12:00 pm  Government, Internet, Technology
May 112015
 

Justin Blackman on “net neutrality”:

Imagine if hard drive providers had been so heavily regulated at the start of the tech boom that only a few, government-approved companies were able to bring their products to the marketplace. We would have never witnessed the same rapid expansion of storage capacity over cost, as there would have been far less incentive to innovate in such a stifling market. Software, however, would have continued to advance in its own relatively free domain, and would have very quickly run up against the limitations imposed by artificial controls on storage media.

In that environment, some software companies would start cutting deals with hardware and OS platform providers. They might, for example, contract that a certain amount of storage space always be dedicated to their product in order to guarantee a certain level of performance for their end users.

The government would then step in and tell these companies that hard drive access must be totally equal, and that no single company should be able to contract for any privileged access to storage.

What consumer would want this situation at all? The free hardware market is clearly far superior, because hard drive space is so plentiful and expanding so rapidly that storage limitations are, at worst, simply a matter of end user preference.

Now, imagine if the telecom industry had not been so heavily regulated by government that only a few, government-approved providers were able to bring telecommunications to the marketplace.

Would we even be having this debate about net neutrality?

A damned good question.

 

May 082015
 

My latest Forbes column is now up: “Drug Company Amarin Stands Up For Free Speech Against FDA“.

Here is the opening:

Even as Americans heatedly argue the issue of free speech with respect to cartoon criticisms of Islam, the small drug company Amarin is striking a quieter blow for its free speech rights against the Food and Drug Adminstration (FDA).

The key issue is whether drug companies can tell doctors truthful information about their products that pertains to “off-label” uses (i.e., for applications not already explicitly approved by the FDA.)

Of course, drug companies should not be allowed to disseminate false or misleading information about their products.  That can and should be punished as fraud.

But both doctors and patients benefit when drug companies are allowed to publish truthful information.

Bonus infographic on the onerous FDA approval process!

 

 

My latest Forbes piece is now out: “Why You Should Record Your Doctor Visits“.

Here is the opening:

NBC’s Brian Williams has gone from being a respected news anchor to the butt of Internet jokes after he recanted a false story about being shot down in a helicopter over Iraq. As a result of the subsequent controversy, NBC has suspended Williams without pay for 6 months — essentially costing him $5 million.

But whether or not Williams’ story was an innocent “false memory” or a deliberate lie, it is the case that false or unreliable memories are a surprisingly common phenomenon. In a health care setting, patients’ false memories of medical conversations might cost them more than money — it might even endanger their lives. Hence, patients may wish to record their doctors’ visits to protect themselves…

During my research for this piece, I learned that “40-80% of medical information provided by healthcare practitioners is forgotten immediately” and “almost half of the information that is remembered is incorrect” (!)

Fortunately, modern technology now makes it easier for patients to record these important discussions with physicians, for instance with a smartphone.

For more information on the benefits of this practice, read the full text of “Why You Should Record Your Doctor Visits“.

 

 

My latest piece for PJ Media, “Herd Immunity Applies to Guns as Well as Vaccinations“:

The medical theory of “herd immunity” posits that enough vaccinated individuals in a population can reduce the risk of contracting a disease — even for those who aren’t vaccinated. From the experience in Illinois and around the country, a relatively small number of armed people can similarly reduce the risk of crime — even for those who aren’t armed.

The “payoff” may be even better for gun ownership than vaccination.  In the case of Illinois, even a relatively small 1% of people with new concealed carry licenses has resulted in a dramatic decrease in violent crime rates.

For more details, read the full text of “Herd Immunity Applies to Guns as Well as Vaccinations“.

 

 

 

My latest Forbes piece is now out, “Does Your Right To Life Include The Right To Die?

I discuss the revived debate over physician-assisted suicide, especially in the wake of Brittany Maynard’s decision to end her life following a diagnosis of terminal brain cancer. This issue is being debated in several state legislatures, including New Jersey and California, so we will be hearing much more about this in coming months.

I recognize that this is a controversial topic and that good physicians can disagree on this issue. Nonetheless, I believe this should be a legal option for patients, provided that there are appropriate safeguard to protect both the patient and the physician.

In my piece I cover three main subpoints:

1) Your life is your own.

2) The state has a legitimate (even vital) role to play in assisted suicide.

3) Physicians must not be required to participate

For more details, please read the full text of “Does Your Right To Life Include The Right To Die?

(Much of this material is drawn from the recent Philosophy In Action podcast by Diana and co-host Greg Perkins in their 1/18/2015 segment, “The Right To Die“.)

 

(Photo: Brittany Maynard by Allie Hoffman; Creative Commons Attribution – Share Alike)

Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha