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Hawaii,United States

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With over 60% of Americans looking to the internet for health information, the question for those of us who care about health is, "how do we increase the chances of people finding good information?" There are a few components to this question. First, what kind of information is available? Second, how is it found? And third, who is producing it, and for what purpose? Here are a few observations which are, unfortunately, not yet supported by data, but may serve as a starting point for future discussion.

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Dr. Patrick Dean has pulled off a magic trick to make Houdini proud.

The founder and president of GI Pathology, a national testing laboratory based in Memphis, Dean has practiced medicine without a license in at least two states. Practicing without a license is often a career killer for a physician. Not so with Dean.

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Public Citizen put together an important report in May that was mostly missed by the press (including me).

It's a comprehensive and critical investigation of The National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB), created by the Health Care Quality Improvement Act 19 years ago, ostensibly to protect patients from rogue doctors.

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The transaction was quick.

In the parking lot of a pastry shop, a patient handed Dr. Kachun ClementYeung $400. Yeung handed the patient a prescription for 800 milligrams of OxyContin. It took less than five minutes.

The exchange was part of 23,000 milligrams worth of the addictive painkiller that Yeung prescribed to patients who were never properly diagnosed with chronic pain during a 168 day period in 2002.

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Jack Cheevers is the communications director for Region 9 of the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the federal agency responsible for administering Medicare, Medicaid, State Children's Health Insurance (SCHIP), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA), and several other health-related programs. Cheevers oversees communications in Region 9, which covers California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii and the Pacific Trust territories.

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The increasing number of people without insurance -- an estimated 47 million in 2008 -- and growing health care costs are fostering more interest in and movement toward overhaul of the health care system. At the national level and state levels, dozens of proposals are on the table, offered by candidates, businesses, consumer advocates and many others. The proposals range from national health insurance modeled on Medicare to private market options based on tax breaks. Many policy analysts expect substantial movement on the issue in 2009.

Picture of Megan Chao

Cancer is the leading cause of death for Asian Americans, though heart disease is the leading cause of death for Americans in general. Asian Americans also have a disproportionately high incidence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hepatitis B, HIV/AIDS, liver disease, and tuberculosis. They are more likely to smoke, a risk factor for numerous diseases. Despite these factors, Asian American women have the longest life expectancy (85.8 years) of any ethnic group in the United States. Many Asian Americans face language and cultural barriers to obtaining health care.

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