Doctor Housecalls Blog

Healthcare related news and updates



When we think of our personal health data being stolen, usually thoughts go to a hospital or insurance company data breach.  According to a recent report by The Atlantic (12/17, Waddell), this is far from the case.  In fact, a research report by Verizon’s business division indicates that 90 percent of industries, from construction to mining to finance, have experienced breaches of personal health information. 

While these industries may not keep extensive health records on employees, many do maintain records that relate to wellness, employee benefits, and worker’s compensation claims.  Within these records is a myriad of personal health and identity data that can be exploited by thieves.   These aren’t often the grand hacking operations that you hear about on the news, but rather the result of a careless loss of sensitive equipment or even proliferated by an insider of the organization.

Even as some companies begin to take notice and work towards safeguarding this information, damage to both the individuals and the healthcare system has resulted from the breaches.  Studies show that patients who don’t have confidence in the security of their information may not be as forthcoming with their healthcare providers.  This could create barriers to effective treatment and even life-saving diagnoses.

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Steven J. Lipsky MD, FACEP has been a Board Certified Emergency Physician in Arizona for the last 37 years, and a resident of the Town of Paradise Valley for the last 37 years. Steve Lipsky on Google Plus[/author_info] [/author]



It has long been thought that environmental influences and lifestyle choices were risk factors for cancer incidence.  The Los Angeles Times (12/17, Healy) reports on a research study released this past month that confirms such a premise.  The study, published in Nature, indicates that a large majority of cancers are caused by extrinsic factors.  These are external factors such as cigarette smoking, obesity, ultraviolet radiation, and viruses.

This recent study seems to be at odds with controversial research released by a team at John’s Hopkins in January 2015.  That study seemed to indicate that most incidents of cancer were nothing more than bad luck.  As reported by STAT (12/17, Begley), researchers at Hopkins concentrated on intrinsic factors, concluding that two-thirds of cancers are due to cell division errors.

While the two studies seem to come to opposite conclusions, many believe that they both have merit.  In fact, it is possible that external elements can contribute to intrinsic risk factors, such as cell division.   According to a San Diego Union-Tribune (12/17, Fikes) report, the authors of the studies continue to debate their findings on the origins of certain cancers.   It is the opinion of most experts that both intrinsic and external factors play a role in cancer incidence.  Therefore, those patients who control their environmental factors will have a much more positive outcome overall.

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Steven J. Lipsky MD, FACEP has been a Board Certified Emergency Physician in Arizona for the last 37 years, and a resident of the Town of Paradise Valley for the last 37 years. Steve Lipsky on Google Plus[/author_info] [/author]


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