Since I recently came across the study how Medical Expansion Has Led People Worldwide to Feel Less Healthy I’ve been thinking a lot about “less is more” It didn’t help by reading another study this week, which shows that 97 percent of ER doctors admitted to ordering some advanced imaging scans that weren't medically necessary, mainly because they fear malpractice lawsuits.
In 1999, several researchers noted, We now have good reason to believe that those who receive more "supply-sensitive" care have no improvement in survival and are unlikely to have better quality of life. The potential mechanisms whereby more medical care may lead to harms that counterbalance any benefits are summarized in our recent article "Avoiding the Unintended Consequences of Growth in Medical Care: How might more be worse?"
For an interesting discussion on this topic, check out The Atlantic’s You’re Getting too Much Healthcare. As Richard Baron, president of the American Board of Internal Medicine, noted at the time of this article’s publication (12/13), “There were and are lots of things being done in healthcare that don’t reliably benefit patients.”
Do we really need to know so much? Is it making us crazy in the process? If you have a chronic condition, just how much testing, treatment and medication does one really need? The answers to questions 1 and 2 are simple-no, we don’t need to know so much and yes, it’s making people crazy, to say nothing of making them poorer.
Cut to the chase: How to avoid being over treated or tested:
• Ask Questions: Don’t assume more is better and ask about the real need for tests and treatments. What is the benefit of my being tested/treated? What’s the chance of something bad happening if I’m not tested/treated?
• Practice healthy living: The Power Nine of the Blue Zones is a good overall guide for living a life that promotes longevity and quality.
• Check out BE SAFER: Avoid Medical Errors