Everything is biased

The Huffington Post announced this weekend that they wouldn’t cover Donald Trump in their Politics section, but instead cover him in their Entertainment section.

While I definitely find politics entertaining, this decision is a glaring example of how biased the media has become. Fox News and the WSJ are “conservative” and The NY Times, MSNBC, CNN and The Huffington Post are “liberal.”

Who is one to believe? How do we get and process information?

While in Europe this summer, I found many instances of information bias. The Russians I met, overwhelmingly support Putin’s actions in the Ukraine. After all, as one Russian woman told me, “Kiev was once the Capitol of Russia.” They are more than willing to put up with inconveniences like having no cheese because of the embargo, as long as the cause is justified. And, in their eyes, it is. Apparently, what the Ukrainians want is irrelevant. Or perhaps they don’t know the feelings of the Ukrainians.

In Germany, I spoke with a woman in her early 30’s who was born in Warnemunde, located in what was pre-1990, Communist East Germany. She was a college educated woman who spoke perfect English. I asked her what she was taught about the issues that led up to the fall of East German Communism and the “reunification” of Germany. Her answer surprised me. She stuck out her chest and proudly proclaimed that it was the “will of the East German people” that was responsible for the fall of the communist government. When I pressed the matter, it was apparent that other factors such as Hungary’s opening of their border with East Germany or US pressure that led to the dissolution of the USSR were irrelevant to her view of history.

Everything and everyone has some bias. A news outlet’s positioning of a story, the type set, intonation, frequency and other factors affect how the listener, viewer or reader experiences and/or processes the information. What we’re taught, what we hear, what we read, and what we experience influence our beliefs.

Does the same bias affect healthcare? You bet it does!

Here are but a few examples. These are the realities that politicians and organized health care don’t talk about. It’s health care’s dirty little secret.

A colleague’s associate recently graduated from his post graduate studies with $500,000 of debt. The first $50,000 of income he makes goes directly toward paying off the interest on this debt.

When this young man sees a patient, how easy do you think it is for him to divorce his financial debt from his recommendations of treatment that impact his income?

An OB/GYN has to pay $200,000 in malpractice insurance annually. How does that debt burden effect the decisions he or she has to make about your health care?

Hospitals are buying doctors’ practices all over the country. The doctor is then employed by a corporate entity that monitors procedures, expenses and production. Failure to hit production goals can lead to financial penalties and even dismissal.

Does a Doctor’s debt create a PRESSURE? And, does that pressure result in a bias?

A dentist learns a technique such as Invisalign to straighten teeth. If that’s the only method that he or she knows to accomplish this goal, guess what they’re going to recommend? Invisalign! It’s said that if all you have in your toolbox is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

I didn’t learn Invisalign until I studied traditional and functional orthodontics. Dr. Schwartz and I continue to study many different techniques, enabling us to offer all kinds of orthodontic options. We have more than just hammers within our toolboxes. Invisalign is only one of our options. We offer a variety of solutions for a multitude of healthcare problems. We evaluate each patient as an individual. What’s best for you personally is the overriding criteria behind our recommendations. Ultimately, it’s all about YOU!

Everyone has a bias. Your job as a healthcare or information consumer is to evaluate that bias for yourself. We want to help.

Getting the right information to you is our goal. It’s why I write books, articles and this blog, and it’s why I welcome your questions. I always attempt to be as unbiased as possible in the recommendations I make and the options I provide. The more you know, the better the decisions you can make.

This bias problem appears to be worsening. I need your help getting the word out to others.. Education is the key. Why not pass these blogs along to those you care about?

To everyone’s good health and wellness,
Michael