5 Things We’re Reading on Improving Health

Discover why word choice matters when a diagnosis is made, which nation’s health care system reigns supreme (in the eyes of five policy experts), how the opioid epidemic is affecting life expectancy in the U.S., and more.

Health care madness: Which country’s system is superior?

In a March Madness-style bracket competition, five health policy experts and economists pitted eight countries’ health care systems against each other in a New York Times Upshot piece to determine which nation’s system best serves its citizens. See which nation came out on top.

‘Pinkeye’ or ‘eye infection’: A rose by any other name…

What doctors call an illness can change how it’s treated and could lead to over-prescription of antibiotics, according to the data journalism website FiveThirtyEight. For instance, when parents were told their child had an “eye infection,” their interest in antibiotics declined; when the illness was called “pinkeye,” they wanted the drugs. See the full story.

Opioid-related deaths whittle away at life expectancy gains

The life expectancy in America grew two years between 2000 and 2015 (from 76.8 to 78.8). But opioid overdoses shaved two and a half months off of that total gain, new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show. See Axios’ visualization of how opioid-related deaths affected life expectancy in the U.S.

The doctor is in … the kitchen

While doctors often help patients only during in-office visits, Dr. Michelle Hauser takes a different approach — she treats patients in the kitchen as well. Doximity, a social networking platform for clinicians, shares Hauser’s story of why she became a hybrid physician and chef and how she’s helping keep people healthy and out of the doctor’s office. Read the story here.

Why hospice care is ‘game on’ rather than ‘game over’

Early referral to hospice care can actually improve life expectancy, but the perception persists that hospice care means imminent death. A hospice doctor gives a first-person account to the contrary in a New York Times piece. Read it here.

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