5 Things We’re Reading on Improving Health

This week’s five health-related reads cover the effects of excessive care, a new recommendation for parents bringing their kids to the pediatrician and a secondary outbreak closely linked with the opioid epidemic.

How much care is too much?

Duplicative tests, scans and other unnecessary medical services and procedures affect millions of Americans. Not only are these services costly – by one estimate accounting for $210 billion in excess health care spending every year – “some clearly harm patients,” according to Kaiser Health News. Read the full story.

Why pediatricians are encouraging parents to BYO toys

Cold and flu season is upon us, and that inevitably means trips to the doctor’s office. Parents bringing sick kids to the pediatrician may need to pack something extra before leaving the house: a toy. Playing with toys brought from home instead of the shared toys in the lobby may cut down on the spread of germs. The New York Times details the new recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

How the opioid epidemic birthed another outbreak

Cases of hepatitis C have nearly tripled in the last few years, and experts point to the opioid epidemic as the cause of the surge — people using dirty needles to inject heroin unknowingly spread the disease. The Washington Post has more.

Poverty linked to poor health, no matter where you call home

Regardless of what country a person lives in, wealth affects health, researchers assert in a study in JAMA Internal Medicine. They compared the health of people in the U.S. and England and found “greater wealth was consistently associated with improved health outcomes in both countries.” Read a Reuters report on the study here.

Doctors say global warming is harming people’s health

A team of 63 doctors, public health officials and scientists from around the world collaborated on a new study measuring the health effects of global warming. Based on 40 indicators — such as the incidence of diseases spread by insects and health problems associated with heat waves and pollution – they concluded that “the human symptoms of climate change are unequivocal and potentially irreversible.” Read more in STAT News.


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health care system work better?

Interested in ways we can make the health care system work better?