Myth or Fact: When your doctors prescribe tests or treatments, you can be sure that their motivation is almost exclusively to help you get better.
Fact: A research study shows that doctors who have x-ray equipment in their offices, or have a financial interest in a business that does x-rays “are at least 1.7 – 7.7 times as likely” to order these tests as are doctors who see patients with the same problems who don’t have a financial interest in testing.” Brian E. Kouri, et al., “Physician Self-Referral for Diagnostic Imaging: Review of the Empiric Literature,” American Journal of Roentgenology, October 2002.
“Overconsultation and overtesting have now become facts of the medical profession. The culture in practice is to grab patients and generate volume.” Dr. Sandeep Jauhar, “Many Doctors, Many Tests, No Rhyme or Reason,” New York Times, 13 January 2009.
Virtually all doctors and other health care professionals arrive at work every day wanting to do the right thing. That said, at times some of them may lose their focus on helping you get better and make decisions or take a stand for other reasons.
In a study of 19 countries, the U.S. ranked dead last in preventing deaths that could have been prevented with appropriate medical care. “U.S. Has Highest Rate of Preventable Deaths Among Industrialized Nations,” Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, 22 January 2008.
Many people assume that the U.S. has the best health care system in the world. That’s understandable; we have an impressive R&D capability and more resources than most other countries.
This week, I’ll share some data from studies that compare health and health care in the U.S. to that in other countries.
Welcome to Elizabeth Bewley’s health care blog. This site is intended to help people who would like to understand more about health care and get better results from it.
Health care in the U.S. saves millions of lives every year. It also injures millions of people and kills hundreds of thousands by accident. I will identify some of the gaps that make it dangerous for you and suggest how to avoid pitfalls and how to think differently about health care. My goal is to improve the odds that health care will increase rather than decrease your ability to lead the life you want.
Each week starting April 12, 2010, I will address one theme; each day will have its own format:
- Monday: Myth or Fact
- Tuesday: Tuesday’s Tip
- Wednesday: Quote
- Thursday: Quick Quiz
- Friday: You Must Be Kidding
I will write additional entries as needed.