Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Some Unsolicited Advice for the Disease Management Community on the Realities of Traditional "Research"

Ouch. Some ham-fisted dismay about Dr. Mattke’s paper on what the literature has to say on disease management from some colleagues in the for-profit side of the industry. In response, the Disease Management Care Blog has some unsolicited advice:

Getting to the ‘truth’ in health services research (HSR) is an imperfect science and a fickle journey. It can be waylaid by hidden bias, complex statistical analysis and imperfect generalizability. The conclusions are rarely bullet proof. There may be better approaches to asking the right questions, but once you enter this arena, you have to live by its rules.

The rules include having your fellow HSR expert-travelers delight in repartee and swordsmanship. What's more, the many readers of published research are independent-minded scientists who have been acculturated to judge the merits of conclusions with a skeptical and sometimes lethal eye. The best attempt at telling the truth will always be subject to the merciless scrutiny of your colleagues. Getting past peer review and publication is not the end, it is the beginning.

Peer reviewed publication is not one of several marketing ‘channels’ that exists to advertise or brand a product or service for a particular audience. Rather, it is an open and standing invitation for more critical review and even more research. The conclusions may ultimately be unexpected or even unwelcome. That is what truth-finding is all about. Your - our - patients will ultimately be better off for it.

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