Truth in Treatment

June 13th, 2013 15:52 by mary barlow

In The New York Times op-ed today, Jerry Avorn, M.D., discusses the challenge physicians face in basing treatment decisions on the best and most up-to-date medical literature. With the deluge of content constantly published, it’s impossible for physicians to sift through it all. So they rely heavily on medical experts who “sort through the reams of clinical research on a medical condition and pore over drug studies, then publish summaries about what treatments work best so that physicians everywhere can offer the most appropriate, up-to-date care to their patients.”

This is all fine and good, he explains, unless of course the authors of the guidelines are paid consultants of the preferred treatments' manufacturers.

To help ensure treatment guides remain impartial, the Institute of Medicine has issued a report, a sort of “guidelines for guidelines” detailing eight standards for writing them. In addition, there is an Independent Drug Information Service to help physicians assess medical literature in a non-product-driven way. Dr. Avorn points out that these resources not only help ensure objectivity of treatment decisions, but may also help control costs over time.

In addition to doctors, I suggest anyone writing on health or for patient audiences be aware of these resources — and bookmark them for quick reference later.

Take care,