Health Advocacy Groups Deserve Scrutiny or Do They?
Health advocacy groups such as those who champion goals to cure or better the life of patients with HIV, breast cancer, mental illness, autism, muscular dystrophy, epilepsy and more should not be taken by their face value but scrutinized. Sheila M. Rothman PhD writing in “Commentary” in the Journal of the American Medical Association (June 22/29 2011) issue concludes "However valuable independent advocacy organizations are for a democratic society and however important their services provided to targeted populations, their advocacy positions and the related underlying assumptions must be scrutinized with the same diligence as those of other stakeholders. There should be no automatic assumption that all health advocacy organizations deserve special standing or represent the common good."
The professor expresses as an example concern about some health advocacy groups which “are so committed to securing diagnostic and treatment interventions for their targeted populations that they minimize the value of evidence-based medicine (EBM) and comparative effectiveness research. They also ignore the potential effects of their advocacy on healthcare costs.”
(EBM represent professional evaluations of the results of controlled and statistically valid experiments regarding the causes and treatments for various diseases. These evaluations can then be used to guide the public and physicians regarding approaches to diagnosis and therapy.)
Do you think that what I wrote here as examples of Dr. Rothman’s view of these groups hold merit? Do you support one or more of the health advocacy groups? Are you a patient with one of the diseases? If so, do you want diagnosis and treatment set by the group’s conclusions rather than that of published results of scientific experiments? ..Maurice.