Most people want the most effective medical care for our family and friends, but is it possible that in some cases, less is the most beneficial? Based upon a recent report published in Plos One by Dr. Martin Makary, professor of surgery and health policy at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, a full 21% of treatment people receive is unneeded – meaning that huge numbers of patients put through various treatment plans, tests and scans are receiving little or no benefit. And these types of unwarranted healthcare services come at a price: up to $210 billion on a yearly basis, as revealed by the National Academy of Medicine.
As just one example, screening for survivors of early stage breast cancer regularly consists of advanced imaging such as PET, CT and bone scans, and tumor marker screenings – while the American Society for Clinical Oncology specifically advised physicians in 2012 not to order these sorts of tests. But approximately half of patients within that criteria received these scans between 2007 and 2015.
The end result is avoidable pain, distress, and financial expense for screenings and treatments that will have no bearing on improving or lengthening life, according to Dr. Lisa Schwartz, professor at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice. Dr. Rebecca Smith-Bindman, a University of California-San Francisco professor, takes this a bit further, stating, “It’s just bad care.”
Thanks to the Choosing Wisely campaign, launched by the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation in 2012, awareness is being raised about unneeded treatments. “Patients used to feel like ‘more is better,’” said Daniel Wolfson, Executive Vice President of the ABIM Foundation. “But sometimes less is more. Changing that mindset is a major victory.”
It’s important for all to be proactive in informing ourselves to the fullest extent possible about any sort of medical conditions our senior family are going through, and then to discuss with the medical team about any tests or treatments that are in question.
Are you aware Regency Home Care offers transportation and accompaniment to medical appointments and procedures, and serves as an advocate for older persons to help make sure they’re obtaining the very best possible senior health care? Just a few of the many ways our Atlanta home health care team can help:
- Give prescribed medication reminders
- Pick up prescriptions
- Plan and make healthy and balanced meals corresponding to any required dietary plan
- Assess the home for fall risks
- Offer mobility and ambulation assistance
- Be sure of safety during bath/shower time
- And much more