The New York Times recently ran a piece that wondered if doctors were treating patients with cholesterol-lowering medication unnecessarily because a web-based calculator over estimated a person’s risk. The program was proudly sponsored by the pharmaceutical roundtable and was available at the American Heart Association.
The implication was obvious. Simple tool determines an individual’s risk for heart attack or death from heart attack. It over estimates risk. Patients treated unnecessarily. To be also clear, the program did underestimate risk as well.
Unfortunately, the article missed an important point. While the simplified calculator may not be as accurate as the more complex algorithm used by the National Cholesterol Education Program, the truth is doctors are likely to be overtreating patients not because the former program is presented by the pharmaceutical roundtable, but for another reason. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Saving Money and Surviving the Healthcare Crisis*