Are e-cigarettes healthy?

Clearly, the answer is no.  It is best not to smoke at all.  From a policy perspective, however, there is a question of whether e-cigarettes should be regulated and taxed heavily–like regular cigarettes–or more lightly.  If e-cigarettes are relatively healthier than standard cigarettes, less taxes/regulation would be merited.  If, however, e-cigarettes induce more individuals to…

What is evidence-based health policy?

Many people have heard of evidence-based medicine (EBM).  A perspective piece in the New England Journal of Medicine by Katherine Baicker and Amitabh Chandra, however, tries to define what evidence-based health policy (EBHP) is.  They list three key criteria: Policies need to be well-specified.  For instance, “expand Medicaid coverage” is too general, whereas specifying that benefit package A…

Is Precision Medicine ready for prime time

According to two researchers, the answer is no.  As they write at Stat: As we wrote recently in Science, three key barriers are impeding the drive toward truly transformational precision medicine: researchers often don’t rigorously test the biological theories that supposedly explain why a targeted treatment should work; they haven’t fully determined the accuracy of the diagnostic…

Can physicians affect medication adherence?

According to a recent study by Koulayev, Simeonova, and Skipper (2016) using data from Denmark, the answer is ‘yes’. Non-compliance with medication therapy remains an unsolved and expensive problem for healthcare systems around the world, yet we know little about the factors that affect a patient’s decision to follow treatment recommendations. In particular, there is…