Newsweek cover story on tests & procedures that may do more harm than good

1313373752678.jpgSee Sharon Begley’s Newsweek cover story, “One Word Can Save Your Life: No!: New research shows how some common tests and procedures aren’t just expensive, but can do more harm than good.

Her ending:

“Many doctors don’t seem to be getting the message about useless and harmful health care. Medicare pays them more than $100 million a year for screening colonoscopies; some 40 percent are for people in whom they will almost certainly harm more than help. Arthroscopic knee surgery for osteoarthritis is performed about 650,000 times a year; studies show that it, too, is no more effective than placebo treatment, yet taxpayers and private insurers pay for it. And although several large studies, including the Occluded Artery Trial in 2006, have shown that inserting a stent to prop open a blocked artery more than 24 hours after a heart attack does not improve survival rates or reduce the risk of another coronary compared with drugs alone, the practice continues at a rate of 100,000 such procedures a year, estimate researchers led by Dr. Judith Hochman, a cardiologist at New York University. “We’re killing more people than we’re saving with these procedures,” says UT’s Goodwin. “It’s as simple as that.”

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Dr Joe

August 22, 2011 at 10:39 pm

This is important for doctors,lawyers,politicians and the public need to know. Screening is over rated and as you rightly say, potentially harmful. Yet doctors may be sued for not doing tests but are legally exposed. They are not sued fort doing tests. If we are to bring about change then doctors who do the right thing need some support.
Keep up the good work-enjoy your blog

Kari Ulrich

August 26, 2011 at 10:01 am

Reliable information is vital for patients to make informed decisions. Physicians who question whether patients can understand the data, better think twice. Patients today are more educated when it comes to our health care. It is the role of the physician to give out reliable information so that patients can make educated choices.