Johns Hopkins: When a Survey Isn't Really ResearchSo when is a survey not research?

When it’s a survey conducted by Johns Hopkins, apparently.

We all know Johns Hopkins as one of those premier medical institutions in the U.S. Like the Harvard Medical School or the Mayo Clinic, most Americans recognize the name as being synonymous with quality medicine and research.

So what would you think if you received a survey called the “Johns Hopkins 2009 Health America Survey?” You’d think, cool, Johns Hopkins wants me to participate in some of their medical research and tell them about my health.

You’d be wrong, though.

Trisha Torrey, blogging over at the Patient Empowerment Blog, got such a survey and began wondering about the pitch to purchase one of their 15 “white papers” on the conditions listed in the survey. Something didn’t smell right…

I got wondering about the results of last year’s oh-so-important Johns Hopkins Health America Survey. I wonder if people thought access to healthcare had gotten better or the quality of healthcare had improved in 2008. So I googled “Health America Survey and Johns Hopkins.” Hmmm…. no results. Nada. I guess this must be the first year they have done this survey? Or. Hmmm…. maybe not?

Because then I found the little teeny tiny type that says,

“This opinion survey is being conducted by the editors of the Johns Hopkins White Papers to help determine future content and is not official research from Johns Hopkins Medicine.”

Nothing like whoring out your name in order to sell a few “white papers” (which are really nothing more than information you can find freely available online, although perhaps not in a readily digestible form like the white paper is).

Johns Hopkins should be ashamed of themselves for allowing some component of their organization to misuse their name and this “survey” as a means of marketing their white papers. Whatever good information they may have had in those white papers has now been tainted by this sleazy marketing move, something we would expect from an infomercial selling us teeth whitener, not from the venerable Johns Hopkins.

Read the full blog entry: Johns Hopkins Survey: True Interest? Data Mining? or Shameless Marketing?