So, you want better healthcare with less cost…one simple question can help!
Healthcare costs are taking more and more money out of peoples pockets, a trend that is sure to continue. The healthcare system is complex and often intimidating. What’s a consumer to do? I think the answer is to get educated. You don’t have to become a doctor or nurse. It is sort of like exercise, you don’t have to run a marathon for it to help. I know, like most things in life, it is “easier said than done.” That being said, I don’t think it is impossible, or honestly, that hard.
Todays’ strategy consists of one simple question. Before any testing or interventions are done, ask: “Will the results of this test (intervention) change management?” If the answer is no, don’t do it. This simple question can save you from many if not most unnecessary tests. Why do unnecessary tests get ordered in the first place you may ask. I think over-ordering stems from a series of unfortunate events. These include what I call “consumer driven medicine,” “survey driven medicine,” “knee jerk medicine” and “defensive medicine” (who knew there were so many kinds of medicine, eh?!).
Doctors have been “trained” by other patients, many of whom demand any and all testing available, regardless of if it will change management, to say nothing of the risks involved. You need to let your provider know you are not “one of them!”
It is difficult and time consuming, and often impossible as a physician to push back against someone who believes they need, deserve or is demanding a study. Sometimes we may misinterpret or just assume a person wants a study, because so many others do. In the pressure of our healthcare system, sometimes you forget that not everyone feels this way. Some providers order too many studies due to fear, worry and what not. Some just don’t think. These are a few of the many reasons we get too much medicine. We’ll talk more about each of these in future entries, so stay tuned.