doctor scratching chin

“On November 8, MedPage Today, one of the nation’s most widely read physician news sites, published a scathing critique of insurance industry functionaries headlined ‘Who is actually reviewing all those pre-authorization requests?’” Mary Chris Jaklevic and Kevin Lomangino write over at Health News Review. “The post was the most popular article on the site for more than a week. While many readers praised the piece for exposing what they described as unethical practices in the health care payment system, others questioned the article’s accuracy and its characterization of the preauthorization process, which is a special approval insurers require before they’ll pay for certain (often costly) treatments. The piece made no mention of the author’s sizeable income from the pharmaceutical industry. began looking into those questions after a reader brought them to our attention on Twitter. In response to concerns we and others raised, MedPage Today Editor-in-Chief Peggy Peck wrote a column headlined ‘If It’s a Blog, Is It Journalism?’ where she argued that blog posts like the one in question should not be held to journalistic standards for accuracy. She said that MedPage Today readers know not to mistake its blog content for ‘news’ or ‘facts,’ and that unsubstantiated stories and missing financial disclosures are ‘par for the course in the blogosphere.’ She added: blogs are not news articles, not editorials, not op-ed pieces, not analysis. Blogs are simply musings and opinions by the individual authors. They are stories shared about the dinner table. We couldn’t disagree more. Blogs vs. journalism: A distinction clear as mud As bloggers and journalists who care about the quality of health care information presented to professionals and the public, we think it’s irresponsible for a news organization to present unvetted, unsubstantiated ‘dinner table’ stories without better explanation of what readers are being served. And we think it’s wrong to believe that readers understand Peck’s distinction between blog posts and journalism and the differing standards that MedPage Today applies.” Mary Chris Jaklevic and Kevin Lomangino, MedPage Today’s ‘dinner table’ stories: Do readers really know what they’re being served? – To see the original piece, follow this link. It’s a fascinating discussion about the review process, blogging and journalism. Don’t miss the comments.

Jeanne Pinder

Jeanne Pinder  is the founder and CEO of ClearHealthCosts. She worked at The New York Times for almost 25 years as a reporter, editor and human resources executive, then volunteered for a buyout and founded...