“Water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink” is an immortalized line in Samuel Coleridge’s poem, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. Though few can recall the name of the poem, or the poet himself, the line has lived on far beyond its origins and originator.
Largely because of the beautiful simplicity belying a harsh reality within the words themselves – a harsh reality in which we find ourselves immersed during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the corresponding epidemic of words upon words.
We are inundated with news – sensationalized news, healthcare news, political news, news that blends healthcare into politics – but the abundance of information has curiously made us less certain and more confused about the world around us than ever before. There is knowledge and information all around us, but we are unable and unwilling to consume it.
How can we know what news to trust when the news itself changes with the hour, the minute – and depending on your preference of social media outlets – the second? Often it seems the more time spent scrolling through the articles, readings the various feeds, the more confused we become.
We find most individuals are either lost in the biases or conflicting reports and simply stop caring, or are reinforcing their views through websites and outlets that serve as echo chambers for one another, becoming more extreme in their outlook over time.
Healthcare has been in many ways coopted into a political issue as healthcare perspectives behave much like political perspectives – trending towards sensationalism and extremism instead of remaining an objective analysis of the data and science. Which has led to greater fragmentation and division in politics, and now in healthcare policy. Manifesting as distrust in online healthcare news.
The immediate solution would be to prioritize data driven analysis in healthcare.
But that is a bias just like someone blogging about the COVID-19 pandemic being a hoax. Because biases, at their most fundamental level, are patterns of thought – a way of thinking. And much like science has become the dominant school of thought over religion and mysticism, data has become the dominant school of thought in healthcare.
We worship data and make decisions around data, all the while blanketly assuming the numbers in the data, the assumptions behind the data, are accurate and unquestionable. Which we learned the hard way is not true.
Many commonly read healthcare articles use data out of context, inaccurately applying static correlations, attempting to define a fixed relationship between two things that are changing quite dynamically.
We are left with numbers with no conceptual basis, data out of touch with the source of the data, producing healthcare articles that devolve into unfounded conjectures attempting to masquerade the biases we see online.
So what is the solution?
Empower the voices of the largest stakeholder in healthcare – the patients. Most people are not aware that they are stakeholders in healthcare. But with no patients, there is no healthcare. There is no megamerger, no pharmaceutical executive, no medical practice, no integrated healthcare delivery system.
Yet the patient is the most disenfranchised stakeholder in healthcare. Despite all the decisions in healthcare made around the patient, extraordinarily little input relative to impact comes from patients.
Patients deserve fair and equal input in healthcare, to reflect their impact.
Instead, insurance companies, hospital executives, and pharmaceutical companies have the greatest input, and it is no exaggeration to say they control nearly all of healthcare.
Which is interesting, because in healthcare the silent majority really is a silent majority of patients who simply acquiesce to the demands imposed upon them. For issues with insurance coverage – patients go through the prior authorization process, never questioning the validity of such policies. For issues with hospital wait times – patients obligingly wait, never questioning if the staffing models deliberately create unnecessary waiting times that could have been avoided with better staffing models.
Patient input needs to match patient impact.
Hence the need for Daily Remedy – a platform for empowering patients while educating the public.
Daily Remedy may be new relative to other news outlets, but our impact has already been felt, and heard far and wide.
As our impact grows, so does our need for reader input. Which is why we ask our readers to provide input to help us cultivate and curate healthcare content that challenges the status quo, the prevailing narrative – but most importantly, that reflects the concerns and questions that really matter to you.
We learn best by learning through you – by asking you relevant healthcare questions in the form of surveys – to then be able to provide high quality healthcare content catered for you.
Each month we will have a new set of surveys for you to review. We humbly request that you take the time to complete the surveys and help us build the knowledge base. The knowledge we glean then appears as insights within the content we share – raising the standard for medical knowledge among us all.
We need your input to analyze trends in patient behavior, and to understand how aggregate patient behavior defines public perception for healthcare issues of the day. There is much we can learn about how people consume and react to healthcare content. It is a unique symbiotic relationship that we are just starting to figure out.
The more we learn, the more we realize we need to learn. And the more the readership grows, the more input we require so that we can continue to grow.
Thank you for your support. You are greatly appreciated.
Association between COVID-19 outcomes and mask mandates, adherence, and attitudes
Using an event study design, authors estimate the treatment effect of the introduction of mask mandates (shown on the vertical red line) on Z-scored population-normalized COVID-19 daily new confirmed cases, daily new hospitalization admissions proportion, and deaths across all 50 states and D.C. over the time period between February 1 and September 27, 2020.
Source: Dhaval Adjodah, Karthik Dinakar, Matteo Chinazzi, Samuel P. Fraiberger, Alex Pentland, Samantha Bates, Kyle Staller, Alex Vespignani, Deepak L. Bhatt. Association between COVID-19 Outcomes and Mask Mandates, Adherence, and Attitudes.