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The ill-effects of flawed health-policy research

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Stephen Soumerai and Ross Koppel complain in HealthAffairs about bad healthcare policy based on weak research.

“In a recent U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ….¬†article, one of us explains how five common biases and flawed study designs are often employed to support (or defeat) research on important health policies and interventions. Each case illustrates weak study designs that cannot control for bias, contrasting that with subsequent stronger studies that debunk the dramatic but unreliable findings.”

“Flawed studies have dictated treatment protocols, backed unneeded or wrong medications, stopped useful medications, overstated the health benefits and cost-savings of electronic health records, and grossly exaggerated the death-reductions from hospital safety programs. These misguided interventions resulted in trillions of dollars spent with few demonstrated health benefits.”


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