Friday, February 27, 2009

Many Doctors, Many Tests, No Rhyme or Reason - New York Times

Many Doctors, Many Tests, No Rhyme or Reason - New York Times: "Overutilization is driven by many factors — “defensive” medicine by doctors trying to avoid lawsuits; patients’ demands; a pervading belief among doctors and patients that newer, more expensive technology is better.

The most important factor, however, may be the perverse financial incentives of our current system.

Doctors are usually reimbursed for whatever they bill. As reimbursement rates have declined in recent years, most doctors have adapted by increasing the quantity of services. If you cut the amount of air you take in per breath, the only way to maintain ventilation is to breathe faster.

Overconsultation and overtesting have now become facts of the medical profession. The culture in practice is to grab patients and generate volume. “Medicine has become like everything else,” a doctor told me recently. “Everything moves because of money.”"

So why blame the doctors ? hey are responding to economic incentives as rational, intelligent human beings !

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous4:14 PM

    Unfortunately in most parts of the world now doctors are part of the 'sickness' industry - and it really is a large, powerful, influential industry - that thrives based on sickness rather than health.

    This applies across the board, from the the big pharma companies to the small individuals selling a simple product or service.

    If the population were actually helped to be healthy, then vast numbers of people involved in this industry would be putting themselves out of a job, which goes against natural instinct. The incentives are all wrong. At the moment they need more sick people (and new diseases to offer a cure for) in order to expand their business / income.


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