Healthcare News & Insights

More care is not ‘always’ better care

The cost of health care and providing quality patient care are two issues constantly at the top of health executives’ minds. The big question is how do you provide quality patient care for less?

Recently, nine prominent physician groups have joined in an effort to help reduce unnecessary medical treatments, which account for a third of the $2.6 trillion Americans spend yearly on health care. Here’s what they did:

The societies, which represent both primary care doctors and specialists, created a list of 45 common tests and treatments they believe are often unnecessary and possibly even harmful to patients.

Each physician group picked five procedures that medical evidence shows have little or no value for certain conditions. The purpose of the campaign isn’t to try to eliminate these tests and treatments, but to get doctors and their patients to question their use in particular cases.

As you know, most patients trust and look to their doctors for the best medical advice. At least, they trust them way more than insurance companies. So if one of your doctor’s tells a patient he or she doesn’t need an electrocardiogram, that patient is more apt to believe it than if a carrier makes the call.

The list is meant to be used as a set of guidelines. A few examples of things on the list include using antibiotics for mild sinus infection and routine electrocardiograms for patients at low risk for heart disease.

According to Kaiser Health News, Dr. Donald Berwick, the former head of Medicare, called the campaign a game changer. “This could be a turning point if it’s approached with energy,” said Dr. Berwick. “Here you have scientifically grounded guidance from a number of major specialty societies addressing a very important problem, which is the overuse of ineffective care.”

In the past, when a test or treatment was deemed unnecessary, the public would assume it was for an economic or political reason. But now this campaign has evidence-based recommendations that will hopefully counter those fears.

The nine physician groups that have participated in creating the list are:

This won’t solve all of our healthcare problems, but it’s an important first step.

What do you think about the campaign? Will it be effective in help trimming healthcare costs? Sound off in the comments section below.



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