Can Too Much Health Care Be a Bad Thing? posted on: 12-18-2017

healthcareMost people desire the very best medical care for our family members, but is it feasible that every so often, less is the most beneficial? According to 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 health care people receive is needless – which means that huge numbers of people subjected to various treatments, tests and scans are receiving little if any benefit. And all these unwarranted health services come at a price: as high as $210 billion each year, as reported by the National Academy of Medicine.

As a particular example, screening for survivors of early stage breast cancer commonly includes advanced imaging such as PET, CT and bone scans, and tumor marker screenings – while the American Society for Clinical Oncology expressly advised medical doctors in 2012 not to order these kinds of tests. Yet around half of patients within that criteria received these types of scans between 2007 and 2015.

The final result is needless discomfort, distress, and financial expense for tests and procedures that could have no bearing on bettering or extending 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 step further, expressing, “It’s just bad care.”

Thanks to the Choosing Wisely campaign, established by the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation in 2012, awareness is being raised about unnecessary 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 of us to be proactive in informing ourselves to the fullest extent possible about any sort of health issues our senior family are going through, and to talk with the healthcare team regarding any screening or treatment options that are in question.

Are you aware North River Home Care offers transportation and accompaniment to healthcare appointments and procedures, and can serve as an advocate for older persons to help ensure they’re obtaining the best possible medical care? Just a few of the many ways we are able to assist:

  • Give medication reminders
  • Pick up medications
  • Make healthy meals in accordance to any required dietary program
  • Evaluate the home for fall risks
  • Offer mobility and ambulation assistance
  • Ensure safety during bath/shower time
  • And much more

Call us at (781) 659-1366 or contact us online to learn more!