The Associated Press recent article “Overtreated: More medical care isn’t always better” reiterated a commonly known fact which is not understood by the public. This problem of doing more and yet getting little in return is a common issue which plagues the U.S. healthcare system and was illustrated quite convincingly by Shannon Brownlee’s book. Americans get more procedures, interventions, imaging, and tests but aren’t any healthier.
In fact they are often worse off. Too many unnecessary back surgeries. Too many antibiotics for viral infections, which aren’t at all impacted by these anti-bacterial therapies. Too many heart stents which typically are best used when someone is actually having a heart attack. Research shows that those that are treated with medications do just as well. As all patients with cardiac stents know, they also need to be on the same medications as well.
Eliminating unnecessary treatments is a good thing, particularly when it is based on science. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Saving Money and Surviving the Healthcare Crisis*
A couple of health journalism gems you shouldn’t miss just because they were published over the holiday weekend:
Natasha Singer of the New York Times had an important piece, “When Patients Meet Online, Are There Side Effects?,” about privacy concerns when social networking sites like CureTogether.com and PatientsLikeMe.com offer online communities for patients and collect members’ health data for research purposes.
John Fauber of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel published another in his “Side Effects” series on conflicts of interest in healthcare. This one was about doctors vouching for the drug Multaq for treating atrial fibrillation without ever having seen all of the data.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune began a “Too Much Medicine” series. Health editor Dave Hage informs that they’ve been working on this project for nearly a year with plans for a few more installments in coming months, each covering different ailments and procedures that are over-used or under-proven. (Unfortunately, I think the series is only available in the print editions.)
*This blog post was originally published at Gary Schwitzer's HealthNewsReview Blog*