Paying doctors to use digital records — Medicare finally does the right thing

Digital health records would be a great thing for the U.S. healthcare system, should doctors and hospitals ever adopt them widely. (Among other things, they’d likely cut down on medical errors and improve the quality of medical care.) Yet only about 10 percent of smaller physicians’ offices use them, because the upfront costs of implementing an electronic-records system are so daunting — and because the doctors themselves won’t tend to reap benefits from the investment for years, if not longer.

Health and science roundup: Amgen, generic biologics, the origins of white people and more

Amgen’s anemia rollercoaster — Biotechnology titan Amgen may have dodged a bullet when a study released Thursday showed that its anemia drug Aranesp didn’t shorten the lives of patients, after several other studies had suggested the opposite. But its anemia franchise isn’t out of the woods yet. A Wednesday report in the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that for-profit dialysis clinics prescribe far higher doses of anemia drugs to their patients than do their non-profit counterparts, suggesting a profit motive behind the overuse of drugs that have been linked to cardiovascular problems at high doses.