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Rating hospital quality
Healthgrades.com
released findings today from a national study that identified 270
hospitals, out of 5,000, where patients are on average 27 percent less
likely to die and 8 percent less likely to suffer a major complication (adjusting for hospital case mix).

Open philanthropyBill Gates writes a 10-page letter discussing progress of his health care foundation and future challenges to reducing the global burden of disease.

The future of researchObservational studies using electronic medical record databases offer significant promise for future research, according to a study published today in The British Medical Journal. The University of Pennsylvania researchers replicated randomized controlled trials using the databases and found the results were mostly similar, particularly when applying a new statistical method to control for confounding.

Major Pharma mergerPfizer's plan to buy Wyeth Pharmaceuticals for $68 billion would create the fourth largest company in the U.S. The NY Times explores the impact, management changes and golden parachutes.

OctupletsA California woman gave birth to eight babies at once. The six boys and two girls are alive and said to be doing well. Wow.

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Personally this is the most entertaining analysis I saw on the Pfizer/Wyeth deal: http://econblogreview.blogspot.com/2009/01/pfizer-buys-wyeth-layoffs-financed-by.html “So here’s the bottom line. The taxpayer has kept BofA, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan alive with TARP money and other goodies. Now these same firms are going ahead and “arranging a loan package” that will keep Pfizer’s earnings up (maybe) with mass layoffs in a transaction so large that it will of necessity be anti-competitive even if OK with Justice (which it will be). These companies have no shame. They will finance a mammoth deal such as this takeover that will destroy lots of… Read more »