Regulatory Reform Options for Implantable Devices

In 2011, some widely used implantable heart defibrillators, designed to correct potentially fatal irregular heart rhythms, developed cracked insulation on their high-voltage electrical wires. The result was that in some cases they caused severe shocks, and even deaths. Consumers with the defective implants had to decide whether to undergo dangerous surgery to replace the device or simply monitor it. Until the defective device is replaced, consumers run the risk that it will deliver an unnecessary high-voltage jolt of electricity—described as …

More Price Transparency Needed for Implantable Devices

Implantable devices, such as hip replacements and heart valves, are a central part of medical treatment today. Americans receive about 370,000 cardiac pacemakers and about 1 million total hip and knee replacements per year. Despite how common the use of implantable devices is, little information is publicly available on the prices paid for these devices in the United States. Limited information about prices and performance of many implantable devices has raised concerns that providers, consumers and insurers may be paying …

Time to Let the Sunshine In

By AARP Executive Vice President Debra Whitman, Ph.D. and AARP Director of Health Services Research Leigh Purvis Starting today, AARP members and consumers of all ages will be able to get a better idea of what may be driving their health care provider’s decisions thanks to the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, or Sunshine Act. The Sunshine Act requires drug and medical device manufacturers to publicly report virtually all payments, gifts, and other services provided to health care providers and teaching …

How to Avoid Robocall Scams

At least one of every five phone calls now made is a robocall, and many are the work of scammers. You may hate these automated annoyances, but scammers love them: They’re cheap, far-reaching and hard to trace. No surprise that the Federal Trade Commission receives some 200,000 complaints about these calls each month. Here’s what you need to know: 1. If they’re selling, assume they’re scamming. Fraudsters may tout “free” in their recorded messages, but ask yourself this: Since when …

40,000 Health Apps: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Christine Porter is hooked on the My Fitness Pal app. In October, after deciding to lose 50 pounds, Porter started typing in everything she eats, drinks and any exercise she gets. “This is like my main page here,” says Porter, who lost 42 pounds in nine months. “It’s telling me I have about 1,200 calories remaining for the day. When I want to record something I just click the ‘add to diary’ button. I’m on it all day either through my …

Bright Ideas to Keep You Healthy

Yes, the talking companion dog stole the show at the Healthy Aging Forum on Capitol Hill May 23 (you can meet him in the video below), but there were plenty of other ideas on display from government agencies, big health care companies, foundations and entrepreneurs about improving the lives of America’s aging population. If the turnout was a bit underwhelming, the products, services and innovations on display had the power to change lives in ways both big and small. Sponsored …