We desire the most beneficial medical care for our family and friends, but is it feasible that on occasion, less is the most beneficial? As demonstrated by 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 treatment people receive is unneeded – meaning that huge numbers of patients put through various treatment plans, tests and scans are obtaining little if any benefit. And all these unwarranted healthcare services come at a cost: around $210 billion every year, as revealed by the National Academy of Medicine.
As just one example, screening for survivors of early stage breast cancer typically consists of advanced imaging such as PET, CT and bone scans, and tumor marker screenings – while the American Society for Clinical Oncology expressly encouraged medical doctors in 2012 not to order these sorts of tests. Yet around half of patients within that criteria received these types of scans between 2007 and 2015.
The result is unnecessary pain, distress, and financial expense for tests and procedures that will have no bearing on improving 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, reporting, “It’s just bad care.”
Because of the Choosing Wisely campaign, created 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 is important for all to be proactive in informing ourselves to the fullest extent possible about any sort of medical conditions our elderly loved ones are facing, and then to consult with the medical team about any screening or procedures that are in question.
Are you aware that Atlanta Home Care Partners offers transportation and accompaniment to senior health care appointments and procedures, and serves as an advocate for older persons to help make sure they’re receiving the best possible medical care? Just some of the numerous ways we’re able to assist:
- Provide prescribed medication reminders
- Pick up prescription medications
- Plan and make healthy and balanced meals corresponding 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