Thursday, April 30, 2015

Why do IVF patients want so many tests ?

I am a conservative doctor, and try not to order too many tests for my IVF patients. I explain to them that tests which do not change their treatment plan are pointless , and represent a waste of time and money. However, I find that many of these patients get a second opinion, and the new doctor orders these tests for them, and patients are happy to do these, even though I have told them the tests were useless.

I used to get upset when patients ignored my thoughtful advice, and felt that my counseling was flawed , and that I wasn't doing a good job educating them.

However, this article in the recent JAMA shows that the problem is not a result of my shortcomings - it seems to be a common human failing for patients to want to do lots of tests !

Researchers find that patients greatly overestimate the benefits and underestimate the harms of medical treatments and tests and say overutilization is largely a function of "poor judgment and subconscious biases" on the part of physicians.

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