Stop Blaming Patients, Guys!

First, a shout-out to an absolutely terrific blog by health economist Aaron E Carroll:  The Incidental Economist

http://theincidentaleconomist.com/

Under the rubric, “We have to stop blaming patients for overtesting and overtreating,” he reports on a study on “Patient Demands [sic] for Cancer Tests and Treatment.”  Bottom line:  a clinically inappropriate modality was requested only 1% of the time, and doctors acceded to only a small fraction of that 1%.  As Carroll concludes, we can’t blame patients for the high cost of medicine.  Which brings me back to my irritation with Choosing Wisely, and its unspoken assumptions that it is consumers who need to understand why “less is more.”  Hey, guys, we’re not the problem!

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One thought on “Stop Blaming Patients, Guys!

  1. When procedures are five times more expensive in the US than in Canada, drugs ten times more expensive than in the UK or Germany, lowering the unit costs seems more urgent than reducing unit numbers. ( http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/03/why-is-american-health-care-so-ridiculously-expensive/274425/ )
    Considering that the US health-care system ranks between the Dominican Republic and Bulgaria for cost/benefit efficiency (http://www.bloomberg.com/visual-data/best-and-worst//most-efficient-health-care-2014-countries), it is understandable that those to whom its expenses are paid make efforts to hold the payers responsible. So research testing claims that consumers force up costs is very welcome, but public policy should focus on questions where the facts are already obvious.

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