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William Heisel's Antidote: Investigating Untold Health Stories

Access Denied: Going digital should open more records to the public

The digital revolution has been a boon to reporting. But turning paper into digital files is not the same as making them freely available online, and major obstacles persist. The National Practitioner Data Bank offers a particularly egregious example.

Access Denied: Government secrecy should be hot topic among presidential candidates

What is The Des Moines Register presenting to the world as the big issue of the day in Iowa in the run up to the caucuses? Government mistrust. But this isn’t about Benghazi; this is about far more mundane things, like thwarted record requests and outrageous fees.

Calif. task force takes up question of whether docs on probation must tell patients

As the law stands now, doctors on probation have to tell hospitals and insurance companies about the fact that they are on probation. But they don’t have to tell their patients. Consumer groups argue that should change and momentum is building in support of the idea.

Licensed for Life: A stroke finally moves the Medical Board to take decisive action

The patient identified only as E.T. in documents had entered the hospital alive, with a slow heart rate. She died a few hours later, after Dr. Madhusudhan T. Gupta had tried to insert a pacemaker into her artery instead of her vein. Years would go by before the Medical Board took meaningful action.

Licensed for Life: Pacemaker procedure gone wrong leaves patient dead

Dr. Gupta was performing a procedure in which a pacemaker is inserted through a patient's blood vessels. But he skipped a key step, and the patient's condition steadily worsened. The case is a reminder that the skills a physician has earlier in their career don’t always remain sharp toward the end.

Five measures for comparing pregnancy and birth quality that should be in Healthcare Compare

Last week, columnist William Heisel criticized the new California Healthcare Compare's website for how it rates hospitals on childbirth, noting that the tool focused too heavily on C-sections and breastfeeding. This week, he offers five indicators that would give potential patients a fuller picture.

When it comes to childbirth, Healthcare Compare focuses on the wrong things

If you are pregnant and considering where to give birth to your child, what matters most to you? Probably not the quality measures used to calculate the ratings at California Healthcare Compare, a new online tool that allows consumers to compare health care prices and quality.

New California site comparing health care costs and quality still falls short of helping patients

By now you’ve heard about the launch of the new California Healthcare Compare website, which allows users to compare cost and quality on common procedures throughout the state. Less noted, however, are some of the site’s serious limitations. Bill Heisel breaks them down for us.

Can surgeons improve care by recommending their peers?

How do you find out how skilled a surgeon is? Asking a surgeon's peers for their opinion is one obvious route, since surgeons are adept at spotting colleagues' skill levels. But getting hold of such peer reviews isn't easy for patients. Can a new surgery market change that?

License Overdrive: Updated website makes tracking doctors’ missteps easier

A revamped version of the website DocInfo promises to be a useful tool for anyone researching doctors' histories with their respective medical boards. Contributing editor William Heisel takes the overhauled site out for a spin.



We've opened recruitment for our all-expenses-paid 2016 California Health Journalism Fellowship, to be held in Los Angeles March 6-10, 2016. Apply now for a $1,000 reporting grant and five days of information-packed seminars, workshops and field trips on California's health care challenges. Click here for details.

We’ve grown considerably since we began in 2004 at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Journalism, and we’re thrilled to announce we now have a new name and new look for our website, formerly known as Reporting on Health.


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