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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First I laughed then the steam came out of my ears
One of the founders of my organization(The Leapfrog Group) recommended this book so I bought it expecting to plow through a dense analysis on measuring health outcomes. Okay, this is my field, but I expected the book to be work not entertainment. I was wrong. My 5 year old wanted a turn reading the book because every time I picked it up I was truly LOL. Honestly this guy...
Published on September 11, 2012 by Amazon Customer

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Distinguishing Fact and Fiction also Requires Additional Information than this Book Provides
There is some good information in this book. However the author doesn't appear to understand the difference between mathematical proof and a procedural method (e.g.,designs). In a mathematical proof if one case is deviant, then the proof is invalid, but in a procedural method or experimental design or quasi-experimental design or just a process, just because one can find...
Published 16 days ago by Herb Cobb


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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First I laughed then the steam came out of my ears, September 11, 2012
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This review is from: Why Nobody Believes the Numbers: Distinguishing Fact from Fiction in Population Health Management (Hardcover)
One of the founders of my organization(The Leapfrog Group) recommended this book so I bought it expecting to plow through a dense analysis on measuring health outcomes. Okay, this is my field, but I expected the book to be work not entertainment. I was wrong. My 5 year old wanted a turn reading the book because every time I picked it up I was truly LOL. Honestly this guy is every bit as funny as Dave Barry!

Once the laughter subsided though I reread the book to figure out what the point was, and that is when I realized how important this is to health care, particularly for employers investing in health benefits, including taxpayers. Many programs in wellness and disease management are not working as advertised, and Al Lewis shows us how we got snowed to think they were. What makes me mad is to think of the money wasted on all this. We do not have extra money for fruitless adventures in health care!

So this is a terrific read and game changing.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wish I had this book ten years ago!, October 30, 2012
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This review is from: Why Nobody Believes the Numbers: Distinguishing Fact from Fiction in Population Health Management (Hardcover)
Why Nobody Believes The Numbers is an excellent book that I wish I had ten years ago when I was the Chief Medical Officer of UnitedHealthcare and trying to calculate the ROI of disease management programs. Looking back, demanding this logical methodology/approach from ourselves and from our vendors would have quickly identified whether we were making a difference in the cost and care of patients. And, ultimately, we could have saved insurers and employers LOTS of money since most programs don't generate an ROI and we would have either not implemented them at all or quickly shut them down. Instead, we maintained them with the false hope that they were decreasing medical costs. Thank goodness this book is so darn funny...or else I'd cry at all the time and money we wasted.

Also, the principles in this book ALSO apply to the ROI analysis of other health management services: apps/games, wellness/prevention programs services, ACOs/Patient Centered Medical Homes, etc etc. The title (....Distinguishing Fact from Fiction in Population Health Management) is too limited...maybe he can edit that in the 2nd edition.

Bottom line: This book should be required reading for investors, employers, health care executives, insurers, and entrepreneurs....or at least for the smart ones that aren't afraid of intellectual integrity and value truth.

Why Nobody Believes the Numbers: Distinguishing Fact from Fiction in Population Health Management
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Many important lessons, August 19, 2012
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This review is from: Why Nobody Believes the Numbers: Distinguishing Fact from Fiction in Population Health Management (Hardcover)
Al Lewis managed to squeeze several categories of lessons into this book, all of which make it worth reading. Other reviews have extolled the virtues of Al's dive into wellness and DM so I'm going to focus on three benefits that I got from reading it, all of which are likely good reasons for you to read it.
First, he forced me to realize that my statistical thinking had become very lazy. It wasn't that I was falling for statistics that could not pass a plausibility test but I had stopped thinking about why they didn't pass. A few chapters into this and I felt like my edge had been reset.
Second, the book teaches a very simple lesson in business and life: it is not easy to deliver great results. The claims made by some of the DM companies are humorous but no more humorous than claims made by many companies in many industries. Let this be a lesson on similar chicanery going on all around us. The claims are similar to promises that led to truth in advertising yet we probably miss it more often than we see it.
Finally, results do not happen overnight. Change takes time. It needs to be thought through, It costs money. It has to accommodate human behavior and differences. The Highmark, BlackBox and Quantum examples all support that simple conclusion but it is a conclusion that we often skip in favor of a 350% cost improvement in Year 1.
I enjoyed the book and will recommend it within healthcare to make smarter buyers and users and outside of healthcare to give others an example of the kinds of examples they should be watching for in their own industries.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stephen Colbert Meets Population Health Management, July 2, 2012
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The most respected and successful guy in the field (full disclosure: I know him and like most of the cognoscenti in this field, have great respect for him) is "breaking ranks" with the industry to acknowledge in a rigorous manner, albeit with world-class humor-writing in places, that vendor and consultant outcomes claims are a joke perpetrated on the HR departments. Claims range from invalid to hilarious to impossible to dishonest to criminal (the North Carolina Medicaid section is a page-turner), and even the "official" guidelines have an obviously self-serving bias towards overstating savings. Why Nobody Believes the Numbers isn't going to make Al any friends among the true believers, and I would expect to see more reviews like the one by Krishna, flamethrowers who can't handle the truth. Fact is, not a single wellness/DM savings claim made by a single vendor is checked for basic plausibility, and I'm sure Krishna's is no different, which is why he's acting out -- anonymously, of course. If Krishna is so smart why didn't he claim the $10,000 reward for finding a mistake in the book?
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truthful account of disease management today, July 10, 2012
This review is from: Why Nobody Believes the Numbers: Distinguishing Fact from Fiction in Population Health Management (Hardcover)
This books offers one of the only truthful accounts of disease management today. All other reports and studies available focus on successful programs. This book actually breaks down the difficulty of measuring results and implementing change. There are of course several accounts of successes, but learning from the failures is just as crucial. The one thing that struck me most was that we should stop being fooled into thinking that quick, easy fixes will make an impact. Successful programs are actually very complex and take years to put into place. This book is a must-read for anyone in the healthcare industry, particular students, employers/HR and consultants.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Terrific Contribution Toward Pragmatic Logic, July 1, 2012
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This review is from: Why Nobody Believes the Numbers: Distinguishing Fact from Fiction in Population Health Management (Hardcover)
Al's "math class" is a required course for anyone involved in either setting up or analyzing the impact of an outcomes program! While some of the sarcasm I found detracting and only occasionally humorous, this book is a must read and will help bring your entire disease management program closer to an understanding of what is real, vs. what is only a figment of our creative imagination. Thanks again Al for making this contribution to our industry!!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BEST IN THE BUSINESS, June 19, 2012
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This review is from: Why Nobody Believes the Numbers: Distinguishing Fact from Fiction in Population Health Management (Hardcover)
I am A big fan of Al Lewis's writing because while there are funnier writers and there are books with more insight,there is nobody anywhere who writes funnier books with more insight. This could be his best yet. Great lines and very incisive commentary that eviscerates most of what passes for outcomes in health management. Sure,he presents only one side of the story,but it's all based on simple arithmetic. And as Lewis says,math is not a popularity contest. If you believe in numbers,you'll believe why nobody believes the numbers...and wonder why none of these vendors,carriers and consultants can do fifth grade math. And make sure to read the book literally cover to cover. You wont find a funnier dedication,bibliography or acknowledgements anywhere. The only things that aren't funny are the copyright notice and the source notes.

Thanks!
Paula
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read This Book If You're A Health Benefits Manager or Broker, August 15, 2013
This review is from: Why Nobody Believes the Numbers: Distinguishing Fact from Fiction in Population Health Management (Hardcover)
I first encountered Al Lewis maybe 15 years ago when he led a listserv (remember those?), comprised mostly of people who were interested in the fledgling disease management (DM) sector. Brilliant and clever - as everybody here has noted, Al MUST BE health care's wittiest guy - even then it was clear that he had thought through the problem in great detail and understood its enormous potential to improve health outcomes while significantly reducing overall cost.

Fast forward to this book, which is the culmination of many years of often disappointing hands-on experience. The hard truth is that most DM firms refused to invest in the talent and infrastructure required to do real population-level health management, and so they gamed the numbers to show performance. Al's often hilarious explication of this dilemma came, though, just as corporations had finally bought into the wellness, prevention and disease management mythology, and so in many ways its the perfectly timed antidote. One of the charms of this book is his obvious delight in lampooning the sober but highly improbable analytical results with one who's-kidding-whom eyebrow raised.

It is important to note that Al never says that Disease Management can't work. But like Accountable Care, Medical Homes and a range of other garden variety health care structures, they don't work as advertised just because they're called by a particular name. There are usually no shortcuts, and success is tied to a lot of detail and relentless pursuit of the objectives. Some organizations do DM well, but they're few and far between and, typically, their results are solid and useful but not spectacular. For spectacular results, you need to do DM, wellness, prevention and a slew of other important disruptive innovations that, in an environment brimming over with inappropriate care and cost, drive appropriateness.

All in all, an important contribution to a purchaser community in desperate need of painless, real expertise on a vital health/cost topic. Highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Should be Required Reading, February 1, 2013
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This review is from: Why Nobody Believes the Numbers: Distinguishing Fact from Fiction in Population Health Management (Hardcover)
I started my career in the packaged goods industry and gained an appreciation for properly conducted research and its power to provide insight and drive better outcomes. I transitioned to health care and in 2009 worked with a company that developed behavior change programs, gaining broad exposure to providers of EAP and wellness programs.

I naively assume there would be excellent research in this area-it is after all health care, right? Was I ever mistaken. For example, a leading provider of digitally delivered health and behavior change programs, purchased in 2008 by an east coast company (I will spare them the embarrassment)puts their research findings and cost savings claims on their website. When I reviewed their site as part of a SWOT analysis I was stunned. ANY competent statistician would have either laughed or shuddered. And they are a leader in the space!

Mr. Lewis sheds light on this in a clear, usually easy to understand and always funny manner. He points out that HR is not up to the task of making the types of quantitative analyses necessary; that is why they are in HR! And the programs can work, and in some cases may be appropriate as tools to brand the employer. (As an aside, friends in the wellness and behavior change industry tell me there is incredible cost pressure on the suppliers. That is what happens when programs do not work, they commoditize)

This book should be required reading for CFO's and those charged with selecting and approving health care for their firm.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Concepts can be applied to other fields, September 7, 2012
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J. Lucero (Lviv, Ukraine) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Why Nobody Believes the Numbers: Distinguishing Fact from Fiction in Population Health Management (Hardcover)
I think this book should be read by individuals in many different fields. If people in finance and real estate would stop using "made up" numbers the world would not only be a better place but we would all be in a better place financially. This book exposes the errant thinking of just the health care industry, but don't let that be a limiting factor.
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Why Nobody Believes the Numbers: Distinguishing Fact from Fiction in Population Health Management
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