Sunday, July 29, 2012

FoSiM: The local "mini-me" of Institute of Science in Medicine: Same Bull, different faces.

[Post moved to other blog.]

Dr Harriet Hall and her 26 "Founding Fellows" created the "Institute of Science in Medicine" [ISM] in mid-2009 as a "501(c)(3) organization for US federal tax purposes" registered in Colorado.

It self-describes as:
ISM is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to promoting high standards of science in all areas of medicine and public health.
and in PDF files includes:
Institute for Science in Medicine, Inc. (ISM) is an international, educational and public-policy institute, incorporated in the State of Colorado, and recognized as a 501(c)(3) organization for US federal tax purposes.
The local Australian variant, "Friends of Science in Medicine" [FoSiM] self-describes as:
 Our Association was formed at the end of 2011 out of concern about the increasing number of dubious interventions, not supported by credible scientific evidence, now on offer to Australians.

  • Dr Hall appears in the first list of "Friends", January 2012.
  • The "mini-me" relationship extends further with their DNS names:
  • Dr Hall's group has the obvious website name:
  • Where the local "mini-me" has a website name unrelated to it registered name, "Friends of Science in Medicine", but exactly congruent with being the local arm of ISM.
  • There is a test/development site at:
Why does this matter?
If you read the first policy document of ISM [PDF] as a Declaration of Intent, it finishes with some very worrying 'Recommendations':
The world’s health care systems need to be rooted in a single, science-based standard of care for all practitioners.
Effective, reliable care can only be delivered by qualified professionals who practice within a consistent framework of scientific knowledge and standards.
Practitioners whose diagnoses, diagnostic methods, and therapies have no plausible basis in the scientific model of medicine should not be licensed by any government, nor should they be allowed to practice under any other regulatory scheme.
Any statute permitting such practices should be amended or repealed as necessary to achieve this policy.
Unscientific practices in health care should further be targets of aggressive prosecution by regulatory authorities.
 This unambiguous Declaration of Intent gives the ISM, and it's mini-me, FoSiM, a specific Agenda:
  1. It is an explicit recognition that this is a Political not Academic or Scientific 'debate'. In no way are either of these bodies "Educational" or "about Science". They are only Political Lobby groups, yet aren't registered as such.
  2. ISM/FoSiM want nothing less than making the practice of "Alternative" Medicines illegal ["change of statues"] and practitioners subject to "aggressive prosecution".
  3. Who will judge what has, and has not, a "plausible basis in the scientific model of medicine"?
    • They don't define either "Science" or it antithesis, "Pseudo-Science", i.e. on the formal, strict basis for this rather extreme decision.
    • There seems to be no idea of Professions being able to defend themselves on any other grounds but an undefined "scientific model" and seemingly without means of Appeal or cause for Redress.
  4. What isn't spelled out here, but is noted on the FoSiM site, is the assumed Dawkins Appropriation: anything ISM and their "mini-me"s decide is "Medicine" is automatically included in their Field of Practice. Which, by definition, makes that practice or technique now illegal for any other Profession to practice.
Given the extreme published position of ISM and the close alignment of ISM and its "mini-me", FoSiM, comments like this from Australian apologists strike me as ignorant, uninformed or disingenuous in the extreme:
Having an organisation like FSM to kick-start a public debate about the value of science in healthcare is invaluable. 
So to the extent that FSM can get the media and the general public thinking about how much they might value science as opposed to pseudoscience in their healthcare it can only be a good thing. That’s why I stopped sitting on the sidelines of the debate and signed up when I found out about them.
No, this is not a "debate", this is not something of little concern, an effort of well-intentioned, altruistic experts. It is anything but that.

ISM and their clones want any type of Healthcare they declare "not science" to be illegal, and practitioners "aggressively pursued". Once started, this is a very slippery slope.

Ultimately, internal Politics reliant on funding and 'connections' will determine what treatments are allowed and which will be deemed "unscientific".

The world of Medical Politics is already riven with such extreme dysfunction and violent internecine warfare that few outsiders understand how bad it is.

This campaign by ISM is hard-core Political Lobbying by the dominant Healthcare Profession for exclusive control of the domain.

They seem to not be happy with having captured over 99% of the Healthcare Dollar and now want everything, presumably in anticipation of making a grab for a much larger slice of our income.

After all, you wouldn't want to die from poor Medical care, would you?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

I2P #1: First, Do No Harm.

[Post moved to other blog.]

This is my first post written for "Information to Pharmacists", an interesting Industry Newsletter with a typically idiosyncratic Aussie approach: they welcome authors of any viewpoint and profession, as long as they are respectful to others, not libellous and can write on medical/pharmaceutical issues. And "no dot points, please!" - a challenge for me, leaving behind my favourite organising technique.

"Fist, do no Harm" not only embraces Systemic Quality, but better Economic outcomes and improved Efficiency and Effectiveness with reduced waste and Continuous Improvement. Learning and Process Improvement are common to both efforts as are monitoring outcomes: costs, clinical results and "process deviations", a.k.a. "errors".

Computing/I.T. and Medicine share a Fiduciary Duty to their clients, with the Amplifier effects of I.T. now the most cost-effective means of improving Patient Safety, Quality of Care and Treatment Effectiveness.

The enemy of Quality Improvement isn't only "Change Resistance" but faddism, like a cargo-cult adopting the outward signs whilst ignoring the underlying causes and principles.

This, not technical problems, will be the major obstacle to realising the benefits of e-Health initiatives here and overseas. Successful practice transformations have stemmed from Quality Improvement programs with electronic system assisting, not from the blind adoption of automation.

Friday, July 13, 2012

FoSiM: Damned by their own words??

[Post moved to other blog.]

In February I commented on problems I had with "Friends of Science in Medicine's" Claims, Credibility and Transparency.

Part of my concerns about FoSiM's Credibility was a piece in the SMH 5 days earlier, recounting an amazing tale of illegal hacking of an SMH opinion poll ('gaming', or massive manipulation).

In following up a piece in "I2P" (Information to Pharmacists, edited by Neil Johnson) by Peter Sayers, "FSM Strategy has no Middle Ground" where I was mentioned, I saw that the FoSiM CEO, Loretta Marron/Mutton, had penned a piece mentioning the same SMH article where she accuses Blackmore's of being "Blaggards". I find such emotional and judgement-laden words hardly fitting or worthy of a group espousing an "Evidence Based approach" only to all Healthcare.

This was published two weeks after the SMH article and well after mine.

My comment, on that article, submitted today:
Marron is considerably less than honest in her reporting of the gaming of the Poll.
[Rest of post moved to other blog.
I find what she's purposefully omitted from this article to be damning. Or was that just incompetence?

Monday, July 9, 2012

Your money and your life: What the AMA and Friends of Science in Medicine won't tell you.

[Post moved to other blog.]

This piece in Business Spectator has a bunch of 'interesting' facts that both Friends of Science in Medicine and the Medical Industry body, the AMA, ignore.

Why is this??

I'd have thought it was in the Medical Profession's interest to run their operations as efficiently as possible in order to maximise their result and the benefit to individuals and to the community. That is, if that's what their Prime Mission is.

As Don Berwick formulated in 1996 with his Central Law of Improvement:
Every system is perfectly designed to achieve the results it achieves.
So, if Medical Healthcare and Hospitals aren't run efficiently and 'accidentally' kill far too many people, Why is this so?

Just what is the current system designed to achieve, if its not Patient Safety, Quality of Care or Efficient, Effective use of Public Monies?

A superficial, simplistic analysis can't tell us...
But we do know that incumbents must benefit from the system: How?

Monday, July 2, 2012

Failed Professions: Definition, Impact, Consequences

I'd like to assert that (Australian) Medicine, Banking and Finance & Investment Advisors and Information Technology (I.T.) are Failed Professions.

The fields of Management and Politics, whilst notable for their egregious actions and errors and not just failing expectations of good governance, but actively harming or exploiting the general public, are not Professions: they fail the basic tests of "Body of Knowledge" and "Entrance Requirements".

What do I mean by a "Failed Profession"?
How do I support that view?