Too Much of a Good Thing?

From a review of How We Do Harm: A Doctor Breaks Ranks About Being Sick in America by Otis Brawley, MD:

  • Up to one-third of imaging tests, such as X-rays and CAT scans, are unnecessary, studies show.
  • One in four prescriptions for hormone therapy for prostate cancer are inappropriate.

Full book review by Liz Szabo in USA Today.

Comments (4)

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  1. Devon Herrick says:

    This book sounds similar to other books that indict the health care system because of the perverse incentives caused by third-party payment, and the prevalence of physician gatekeepers armed with asymmetric information. Defensive medicine is another boogeyman often used to explain overtreatment. However, I suspect that patients themselves share much of the blame for aggressive treatments.

  2. Dr. Steve says:

    When I was still practicing malpractice insurance carriers would have workshops on minimizing liability risk. One of the first things they and the defense attorneys addressing the audience would say was NEVER use cost of care as a reason to not do a diagnostic study or treatment. Never suggest this to a patient as a consideration. It was a sure way to lose.
    Maybe things have changed, but I doubt it.

  3. John R. Graham says:

    This book sounds similar to one which I have read (and recommend): “Overdiagnosed” by Dr. H. Gilbert Welch et al., and which is cited in the article.

    I was very interested to read Dr. Brawley’s statement that providers can still make a good profit from Medicare and Medicaid for certain conditions. I am a little tired of hearing how Medicare and Medicaid do not cover their costs, and yet hospitals still admit government-insured patients.

    The story that introduces the article is truly horrific. But I struggle to believe that the woman could not receive any treatment in Atlanta before her cancer reached its conclusion.

  4. Ryan says:

    I’m sorry, my goal is to make our blog as user friendly as posbsile.If you click on Blog and scroll down to Monthly Newsletters the last two months are there.Just click and the newsletter comes up with all the sales & specialsIs there anything I can do to be more helpful?Thank you,Maria