Bad Medicine, Part 3: Death by Diagnosis

By some estimates, medical error is the third-leading cause of death in the U.S. How can that be? And what's to be done? Our third and final episode in this series offers some encouraging answers.

Bad Medicine, Part 1: The Story of 98.6

We tend to think of medicine as a science, but for most of human history it has been scientific-ish at best. In the first episode of a three-part series, we look at the grotesque mistakes produced by centuries of trial-and-error, and ask whether the new era of evidence-based medicine is the solution.

How Many Doctors Does It Take to Start a Healthcare Revolution? (Rebroadcast)

Season 5, Episode 3 In part one (“How Many Doctors Does It Take to Start a Healthcare Revolution?”), we continue conversations from last week’s episode, (“How Do We Know What Really Works in Healthcare?”). Anupam Jena, a physician, economist, and professor at Harvard Medical School, told us about his study that shows mortality rates improve when cardiologists […]

How Do We Know What Really Works in Healthcare? (Rebroadcast)

 Season 5, Episode 40 This week we look at healthcare. First, Freakonomics co-author Steve Levitt discusses the randomized control trial, or RCT, which he calls “the very best way to learn about the world around us.” Then Amy Finkelstein, a professor of economics at MIT, talks about using RCTs to explore healthcare delivery — and the […]

How Many Doctors Does It Take to Start a Healthcare Revolution?

Season 5, Episode 3

In part one ("How Many Doctors Does It Take to Start a Healthcare Revolution?”), we continue conversations from last week's episode ("How Do We Know What Really Works in Healthcare?”). Anupam Jena, a physician, economist, and professor at Harvard Medical School, told us last week about his study that shows mortality rates improve when cardiologists are away at medical conferences. One possible explanation for his results, Jena says, is that many procedures, although highly effective, aren't better than doing nothing in certain cases.

How Do We Know What Really Works in Healthcare?

Season 5, Episode 2

In part one ("How Do We Know What Really Works in Healthcare?"), Freakonomics co-author Steve Levitt discussed the randomized control trial, or RCT, which he calls "the very best way to learn about the world around us." Then Amy Finkelstein, a professor of economics at MIT, talks about using RCTs to explore healthcare delivery -- and the "accidental" RCT she discovered when Oregon expanded Medicaid.

How Many Doctors Does It Take to Start a Healthcare Revolution? A New Freakonomics Radio Podcast

Our latest Freakonomics Radio episode is called “How Many Doctors Does It Take to Start a Healthcare Revolution?" (You can subscribe to the podcast at iTunes or elsewhere, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above. You can also read the transcript, which includes credits for the music you’ll hear in the episode.) The gist of the episode: The practice of medicine has been subsumed by the business of medicine. This is great news for healthcare shareholders -- and bad news for pretty much everyone else.