Has Kaiser Permanente Found the Secret to Heart Disease Prevention?

MSNBC's Anne Thompson believes that the large HMO organization, Kaiser Permanente (KP), has found the secret to preventing heart disease, according to an MSNBC report. The claim made in the report, is that KP's patients have 30% less heart disease than the rest of California. Dr. Eleanor Levin, a cardiologist with Kaiser Permanente of Northern California, states in that report that "they're doing the right lifestyle changes in terms of weight loss, stress reduction, smoking cessation and the right diet."

Unfortunately, a comparison between KP's patients and "the rest of California" is not a scientific study. To perform such a study, it would be necessary at the very least, to make sure that one is comparing apples to apples:

  1. Compare KP's patients with those of other HMO's, not with the entire population that includes many uninsured people.

  2. Ensure that the comparison HMO's treat the same type of population in terms of age, gender, employment, type of job, geographic region, socio-economic status, ethnic composition, and possibly several other factors.

It would be most interesting to see whether this preference for KP would still be evident in such a study, but until that time - lets have less hype and implicit commercials in the news!

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Last Modification - December 20, 2004