Overtreatment in US Health Care

In April there was a conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts, about how to reduce overtreatment in American health care. Attendees were told:

The first randomised study of coronary artery bypass surgery was not carried out until 16 years after the procedure was first developed, a conference on overtreatment in US healthcare was told last week. When the results were published, they “provided no comfort for those doing the surgery,” as it showed no mortality benefit from surgery for stable coronary patients.

One participant said that overtreatment cost one-third of US health care spending. As far as I can tell, no one said that “evidence-based medicine” underestimates — in the case of tonsillectomies, almost completely ignores — bad effects of treatments. This failure to anticipate and accurately measure bad effects of treatments makes the overall picture worse. Maybe much worse.

One Reply to “Overtreatment in US Health Care”

  1. Seth, thanks for providing this info. It is extremely important and I’m surprised no one else has commented yet.

    To my way of thinking, the story of medical overtreatment should have exploded into a major scandal years ago; and I don’t understand why the main stream media hasn’t been all over it. Must be the “anechoic” effect at work; Dr. Roy Poses at Healthcare Renewal has been talking about that for a very long time.

    Thanks again for your blog and the interesting topics you bring to us.


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