consumer reports

10 Mar: Healthcare 100 surpasses 1,000 health and medical blogs

We announced today that the Healthcare 100 now includes more than 1,000 health and medical blogs submitted by bloggers worldwide. For those of you not familiar with the Healthcare 100, it is a directory, search engine and ranking system designed to assist individuals who are seeking health information from blogs. Since we started the Healthcare 100 in June 2007 with just over 100 blogs, hundreds of health and medical bloggers have submitted their blogs to our directory, turning it into one of the Web’s go-to resources for health-related content. Surpassing 1,000 member blogs is a milestone not just for us, but for the community of health bloggers. One reason I created the Healthcare 100 was to help consumers gain confidence…

09 Mar: How valuable are online physician ratings systems?

Earlier this year, I was privileged to participate in a health blogger summit convened by Consumer Reports at its New York headquarters. One of the topics discussed at the event — in fact, the one that generated the most controversy — was online health ratings systems. Many in attendance — including doctors and consumer advocates — were supportive of online ratings, particularly in helping patients find a doctor. But others, most notably Avery Comarow, editor of “America’s Best Hospitals” for U.S. News & World Report, dismissed Web ratings as dangerous popularity contests. Avery made the point that online physician ratings were biased toward negative reviews and had little objective medical basis. I agree with Avery that doctor ratings sites are…

06 Feb: eDrugSearch.com gets a peek inside Consumer Reports labs

As part of our visit to Consumer Reports headquarters last month to participate in the health blogger summit, we had an opportunity to tour the famous Consumer Reports labs — where they seemingly test every product under the sun, from cameras to stereos, home-gym equipment to washers and dryers. They even have food testers who have to sit behind metal doors waiting for food to taste — so the aroma from the test kitchen doesn’t cloud their judgment! Here are a few of my photos from the tour (you can view the full set on Flickr): This is where they test the audio equipment. It’s very quiet — and totally soundproof. Sometimes, when groups of schoolchildren or Boy Scouts tour…

Cary Byrd and Craig Newmark

26 Jan: eDrugSearch.com attends Consumer Reports health summit

We were fortunate to be invited to a health blogger summit coordinated last Thursday by Consumer Reports. The event — held at CR’s headquarters in Yonkers, New York — was an opportunity to meet with the publication’s editors as well as other health bloggers, and to discuss the future of social media and social networks as they relate to the public health. The event’s 31 attendees were also treated to an intimate Q&A with Craigslist founder Craig Newmark, who is on the board of Consumers Union, which owns CR. Here are some of my pics from the event, with captions beneath each image. Julie Deardorff of the Chicago Tribune moderates a panel on health ratings systems, featuring: Dr. John Santa…

01 Jan: Consumer Reports rings in 2009 by buying The Consumerist

As readers of this blog know, Consumer Reports is one of our favorite publications. We love the fact that they don’t accept advertising — and thus are not influenced by the threats of sponsors they might criticize. It’s one reason we trust Consumer Reports — on issues ranging from choosing a car to buying prescription drugs from Canada — over virtually every other source of consumer information. The Consumerist, meanwhile, is a great blog and, like Consumer Reports, has never been afraid to criticize the biggest companies in the world when they let their customers down. Unfortunately, one result of this is that it’s had trouble selling advertising at the rates its level of readership merits. On Wednesday it was…

29 Dec: Consumer Reports on Canadian drugs

Consumer Reports says buying prescription drugs from Canada can be a smart strategy for cost-conscious consumers. Here’s the magazine’s advice: You can often save 25 percent or more [using mail-order pharmacies]. Buying brand-name medications from Canada can boost your mail-order savings, sometimes up to 50 percent. Generics, however, are cheaper in the U.S. And drugs bought in Canada will not count toward your Medicare Part D deductible. While it’s illegal to buy drugs from foreign countries, including Canada, because of safety concerns, the FDA may refrain from taking legal action if you can provide your doctor’s name, address, and phone number, and confirm that the drugs are for personal use. If you wish to explore this option, look for pharmacies…

04 Sep: Comparison shopping for prescription drugs saves big bucks

From CNBC: “A national price study conducted by Consumer Reports and led by Tod Marks showed just how widely prices can vary on the same drugs in pharmacies throughout the country. The survey found that the prices of four particular prescription drugs can vary by as much as $340, and up to $100 even within individual chains of stores! Of all the drug-store chains, Costco proved to be the cheapest, Marks said.” That’s a huge variation in pricing. It reflects the fact that U.S.consumers are not accustomed to comparison shopping for prescription drugs — and drugstores certainly don’t make it easy to do so. Believe me, if consumers routinely shopped around when buying drugs, you’d see a leveling of pricing…