An Ounce of Evidence is the blog of Ashish K. Jha – physician, health policy researcher, and advocate for the notion that an ounce of data is worth a thousand pounds of opinion.

I am a practicing Internist physician and a health policy researcher at the Harvard School of Public Health.  I practice medicine in a government run health care system for Veterans, am on staff at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and am an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Our healthcare system is a mess.  While most physicians and nurses in the U.S. are dedicated, hard-working professionals committed to their patients, the system in which they practice fails them and their patients on a daily basis.  While there is no shortage of opinion on how to fix our system, our research groups tries to bring empirical evidence to the debate.

The blog is my effort to bring data to the discussions about health policy issues — what works, what doesn’t, and why.  But not being without my own biases, this blog will also be a forum for my own interpretations of the data.

Finally, from time to time, we will have guest bloggers.  My hope is that the blog can also become a forum for debate, discussion, and spirited but ultimately respectful airing of the issues involved in fixing the healthcare system.


7 thoughts on “About

  1. Georgean deBlois, M.D.

    Thank you for the calm objectivity brought to this highly charged issue. As one who recently left private practice to take the inaugural CMO position at our HCA hospital, I have been impressed with the committment to quality and transparency shown by our hospital A-team, and backed up by Division. Is there room for improvement? Absolutely! Hospital medical care is enormously complex, and we strive daily to examine and improve.

    1. ashishkjha Post author

      Dr. deBlois — thanks for the comment. I have tried to make the point that finding villains, such as for-profit hospitals or drug companies or the government even, is a distraction. It is not a serious approach to improving healthcare. I know that many hospitals, including many HCA hospitals (as evidenced by the data) are committed to providing high quality care. The leadership’s commitment to improvement is probably the biggest factor that drives high performance. Good luck with your new job.

  2. Joy Lee

    Nice blog, Ashish. Relevant and accessible– it’s exactly what mine aspires to be when it ‘grows up’ (www.isthispublichealth.blogspot.com).

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  5. Dina Strachan, M.D.

    Regarding your blog on Kevin MD regarding bad data v. no data: don’t you think that the devil is in the details? Couldn’t bad data actually be worse than no data if it leads a person to draw the wrong conclusion? The med/surg nurses told me in medical school that one of the ways surgeons kept their numbers good was by transferring patients to medicine when they got sick after surgery. Don’t some more skilled surgeons take on the more complicated cases that are likely to have a worse outcome– even if the surgeons who would work with these patients have a better outcome than most? I was also fascinated that, as a physician and health policy expert, you’d work with ProPublica for no compensation (as you disclosed at the end of the blog post). They make money keeping track of whether doctors get paid for their expertise and time. Have you ever looked up what the people who work there make? Some around $500k/year. They don’t generate these reports for no compensation and they don’t have the kind of expertise you have. Doesn’t that make you feel taken advantage of?


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