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Apologies to HERO and the Wellness Ignorati!

(March 18) Due to vacation schedules, we are taking a brief time-out from both our “profiles” of vendors and our serial analysis of the HERO report (Part 1 was our most popular posting ever — don’t forget to “Follow” us so as not to miss a single installment.).

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Knowledge + fun + respect = happiness + health

This posting is to apologize to the HERO Wellness Ignorati.  A comment our posting on the HERO report said we shouldn’t call the Wellness Ignorati “ignorant.”  We aren’t calling them ignorant and we apologize if we were misunderstood.  Since it has sold almost 6000 copies despite Wiley’s decision to price it to finance their retirement accounts, we thought by now most people had read Cracking Health Costs.  That was the book in which the term was coined.  It emphatically does NOT mean “ignorant.”  We would never call them “ignorant” and the Ignorati are anything but.  Quite the contrary, they are smart enough to realize that facts are their worst nightmare.

Or as Tom Friedman said in today’s New York Times, “We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t outright ignore facts that make a laughingstock of our hopes.”   (I actually did the opposite. See the blog post: Founding Father of Disease Management Astonishingly Declares: “My Kid Is Ugly.”  Dee Edington did something very similar. Both of us were simply not willing to sacrifice our integrity for filthy lucre.)

The Wellness Ignorati are more than smart.  They are brilliant.  They have elevated fact-ignoring to an art form.

They realize that enough people seeing this site will derail their HR-financed gravy train, so they keep to a strict strategy of not even acknowledging that facts exist.  Example: us.  Not a mention of our existence in their entire report.   A brilliant strategy for them, and one that flatters us immensely.  Obviously, in the massive tome they just published, if they thought we were wrong, they could have said: “They Said What and its authors offer a competing view, but it’s wrong because…”

Fact suppression is of course the opposite of what we do — we want facts to be front-and-center.  We welcome transparency and debate, though the latter is tough because people either repeatedly decline (Ron Goetzel) or, after the debate, wouldn’t agree to release the recording (Michael O’Donnell).

Instead they simply disappear us.  This is despite the fact that the two of us (plus our colleagues like Jon Robison and Tom Emerick) have sold more books, been interviewed in more major publications, authored more articles in high-impact journals than all the Ignorati combined.

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Do you employees know when to just say “no” when it comes to medical care?

I’ll close with a f’rinstance.  We copied a screenshot from that report showing that the Ignorati finally admitted that “pry, poke, prod and punish” programs damage morale.  This guy looked at that screenshot, and put a comment on our post that this screenshot didn’t exist, but rather it was our propaganda.  Someone else said the screenshot was out of context, so we invite everyone to read the context.

The bottom line is, of course the HERO Report is correct about the cost of morale damage.  Coincidentally, I am writing this from State College, Pennsylvania.  I am here as an honored guest of the Penn State Faculty Benefits Committee, feted for my role in helping to free them from the Goetzel/Highmark forced wellness program (featuring those immortal testicle checks).  Try telling Penn State there’s no morale impact.  (For those of you thinking of sending your kids here, do it!  I’ve never been to a university where the professors were more passionate about teaching their students than PSU–despite what happened to them in 2013.)


“Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but not to their own facts.”

–Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Patients overestimate benefits, underestimate harms of treatment. What if they knew the truth? | The Incidental Economist

Trapezoidal_rule_illustrationOne reason most people overestimate the benefits of treatment and underestimate the harms is that the medical care industry is a rigged game. It is about doing things to people, rather than for them, because that’s how everyone (except the patient, very often) makes out financially; if the patient is diligent and lucky he or she achieves an outcome that they value, which could be quite different from the outcomes used to reward providers. The medical care marketing machine is ubiquitous and powerful. Unfortunately, the current debate about overdiagnosis and overtreatment is not cutting very deeply into healthcare excess, for the simple reason that there is too much money to be made by pharma, hospitals, doctors, and health plans.

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Smarter people make better choices.

The smarter you are about how the healthcare industry makes its money (or takes your and your employer’s money), the better off you will be. The path to successful interaction with the medical care machine lies in skeptical, minimalist interaction.

Despite the existence of metrics to help patients appreciate benefits and harms, a new systematic review suggests that our expectations are not consistent with the facts. Most patients overestimate the benefits of medical treatments, and underestimate the harms; because of that, they use more care.

via Patients overestimate benefits, underestimate harms of treatment. What if they knew the truth? | The Incidental Economist.

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