Better Health: Smart Health Commentary Better Health (TM): smart health commentary

Latest Posts

Medical Content Sweatshops: What Are They Smoking?

A member of the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA) freelance listserve recently posted this help-wanted ad from Craig’s List:   

“We’re looking for an experienced analyst/wordsmith to make sense of the health care bill. We will pay a per-project fee for a qualified writer to put some hard work into summarizing the bill in an 8-10 page white paper. We have a strong preference for individuals with a background in Sociology, Policy Research, Health Care, or statistical analysis. Above all, however, you should have some clippings to point us to so we can evaluate your writing chops. As you can see, this report will include a lot of information, but it’s important that you are succinct and clear in your prose. Think of it as a detailed study done by a respected think tank, but  produced for the average consumer.”

The “fee” (and I use the term loosely) for this “detailed study” (?) is $100, which wouldn’t even cover the cost of toner to print out the full bill for reading! (Hence the title of this blog.)

The people behind this posting are not the only ones smoking something, however. Content sweatshop Demand Inc has also been trolling for writers, offering what amounts to a few pennies a word for churning out short articles on topics that a mathematical equation has determined will bring in the most webpage visitors, spiking ad revenue. The sad part is that thousands of my fellow freelancers have taken up the challenge earning, if they’re lucky, about $20 an hour (before taxes and with all expenses out of their own pocket). Most earn far less. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at A Medical Writer's Musings on Medicine and Health Care*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

Read more »

How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

Read more »

See all interviews »

Latest Cartoon

See all cartoons »

Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

Read more »

The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

Read more »

Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

Read more »

See all book reviews »