Less is more, the growing trend in healthcare. Are consumers and doctors becoming more realistic?
There have been some interesting trends in healthcare lately. The NY Times reported that the recession has put a damper on many consumers appetites for more tests and interventions, especially as more people are required by their insurers to pay more of the bill. This growing trend has resulted in fewer doctor visits. While this is a healthy trend, reducing interventions that are often not needed and in some cases, may lead to interventions that can actually create problems, some doctors are concerned that some people are putting off needed evaluations. Read about it here.
Also noted, are more people taking a wait and see attitude. Many people who entered the emergency room are now thinking twice about saying ok to a battery of tests, or scans after having an injury cared for. The common practice of recommending and having the patient automatically say ok to a battery of tests is now being turned down by a growing number of patients. While this practice is a huge cost driver in insurance, perhaps this trend will finally scale back the common overtesting that has been a regular part of the emergency room experience, since this is a consumer driven trend. Read about it here
Another interesting event this past Wednesday was a doctor panel from nine specialty boards has recommended that 45 commonly done tests and screens be done less often. These tests and procedures in many cases are not necessary and in many doctors offices have been a profit center, while offering little benefit or in some cases actually harming the patient. This is groundbreaking since it can actually lead to a change in the way healthcare is practiced in this country. In the US we are way over treated and over tested. Americans have been taught that all this is necessary, while even the speciality boards are realizing it is not. Less is more is the new trend. While some scoff at other countries who have systems that in some cases may have you as a patient waiting, perhaps, these practices in many cases are not wrong, they just ration care differently. The rest of the world pays way less than we do and yet, we have a system that may have the best technology, but statistically, not the best healthcare system. This is part of the reform our healthcare system desperately needs. See the article here