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Dr. John Santa

For the past several months, I have 

been moving from Ratings Center 

Director to Medical Director to part-time Medical Director. The last step coincided with my move back to Oregon and a future with fewer working hours. Six great years at Consumer Reports are over, and who knows how many equally great years are ahead with CR in some way -- and hopefully with some of you. My plan is to work part-time for a while and then get involved in a new cause or movement that is fun, challenging and satisfying. My hope is to stay connected with physician ratings, Choosing Wisely and OpenNotes. I am especially intrigued by OpenNotes -- a movement to make clinician notes easily available to patients. It achieves true transparency.


I have learned so much from you, my consumer colleagues.

1) Medical errors are terrible but forgivable. But any coverup is not.
2) If we really want to be patient/consumer centered, here are two suggestions:
i. Nothing about me without me.
ii. Involve consumers from the start and at the top.
3) The right combination of confrontation and collaboration can go a long way.
4) Compare, compare, compare!

Doris Peter has taken over the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center. Doris has made the Ratings Center possible from the start. Ratings Center will be bigger and better. Wait till you hear what Doris is up to.

And Tara Montgomery has taken over, leading us. Tara
knows more about connecting dots than anyone I know.
And that includes dots most of us would not see on the page in front of us. Tara will write the next column, and many more. 

For the foreseeable future my email ([email protected]) is the same, but don't call me in Yonkers. I won't be there. But I will be out there on a path that may cross with yours. And if you are going to be in Oregon, let's do lunch.

John Santa, MD

Director, Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center   

August 2014 Newsletter 
In this issue:
What's New
Partner Spotlight
Best Buy Drugs Update
Support Our Work
Quick Links

What's New

Social media meetup


In a five week series Consumer Reports hosted a summer "media meetup" in which 

health educators joined an online conference space to talk about using new media 

platforms for providing whatever health information they wished to share. The format 

was a short presentation by changing speakers followed by a group discussion among 

attending activists and health communication professionals for the rest of the hour. 

Topics for talks included an introduction to Twitter, a demonstration of using "link shorteners" 

to measure clicks on links, and a review of privacy and sharing of health information on 



Talks were organized by Consumer Reports staff and partners who wanted to address 

the idea that increasing investments of time and staff in social media will result in increasing 

ability to communicate with audiences and get health information to the people who need it. 

The concern is that while some educators have been able to leverage social media to have information distribution with greater impact and at lower cost than with traditional media, social 

media can consume a lot of time and its results can be difficult to evaluate. 


We'll begin another series in the fall. For additional details or to join, visit the Consumer Reports Media Meetup website here.


Partner Spotlight 

Two new partners join the team


Consumer Reports Health is proud to announce two new organizations joining us as 

official partners, the California Grower Foundation and the Connecticut Choosing Wisely Collaborative.


The California Grower Foundation is a non-profit membership organization serving agricultural employers in Napa, Sonoma and surrounding counties. The organization was formed in 

1972 by local growers to administer fringe benefit programs for field workers. It specializes in providing employee benefit programs designed to meet the unique needs of the agricultural 

industry. Learn more here.


The Connecticut Choosing Wisely Collaborative is an collaborative created in the state of 

Connecticut to raise awareness in the state about Choosing Wisely among patients and 

consumer groups, employers and payers, providers and health systems, government officials 

and policy makers and to be a catalyst to accelerate the adoption of Choosing Wisely by 

sponsoring programs and facilitating and advocating for public and private initiatives that address patient-provider communication about most effective use of tests and procedures and 

recommended guidelines for appropriate treatment. Learn more here.  


New from Best Buy Drugs 

Best Buy Drugs releases a special report: Deadly pain pills


America is in pain-and being killed by its painkillers. It starts with drugs such as OxyContin, Percocet, and Vicodin-prescription narcotics that can make days bearable if you are 

recovering from surgery or suffering from cancer. But they can be as addictive as heroin 

and are rife with deadly side effects.


These powerful painkillers called opioids are the #1 most prescribed drug in the U.S. They 

are also the most deadly. Every year, drugs like Percocet and Vicodin are responsible for 

more than 17,000 deaths. To learn the risks and how to stay safe, read the full report.


Additional Best buy Drugs resources on painkillers:


Prescription Painkillers: 5 Surprising Facts

Opioids Report


Support Our Work

Consumer education and outreach 


As you know, Consumer Reports is the only major independent consumer organization 
working for transparency in medical costs, effectiveness, and safety. And because we're 
free of any commercial influence, we always call it like we see it - never pulling any punches.

Last year, our work on health care helped consumers identify and choose high-quality, 
appropriate, cost-effective preventative care, screening/testing, medicines, treatments, 
hospitals, and health insurance. We create hundreds of patient-friendly resources 
addressing medical costs, effectiveness, and safety. But there is much more work to 
be done and we can't do it without your help.

Knowing that you're a fan of Consumer Reports Health, we'd like to invite you to make 
a charitable contribution. Your contribution will help us remain a leading voice in championing consumers' access to sustainable, safe, high-quality, and affordable health care and physical, mental, and community well being. We hope you'll find it's a cause worthy of your support.

Please consider a contribution to Consumer Reports' health-care initiative. 
You can easily donate online today or email us at [email protected] if 
you have questions. 

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