Friday, September 26, 2014

Here's a superb conversation between two of the world's experts, Robert Wachter and Rosemary Gibson, on the following issue: What is the magnitude of overuse in medicine?  And what to do about it.  The depth of their knowledge and understanding is something to behold. This should be required reading for all in the health care world.

The opening [but keep reading!]:

Dr. Robert Wachter, Editor, AHRQ WebM&M: What is the magnitude of overuse in medicine? 
Rosemary Gibson: We don't measure the extent of overuse so we don't know its magnitude. I believe it is pervasive.
RW: As you look at the pathophysiology of it, are you convinced that financial drivers—which I guess I interpret as being the more you do the more you get paid—are the dominant reason for overuse? What evidence supports that?
RG: Yes, financial incentives are the dominant cause of overuse. But other factors contribute to overuse. Uncertainty in medicine drives overuse. A natural proclivity may be to do something in a context of uncertainty. Fear of malpractice suits drives overuse. Beliefs are a factor. Physicians and patients have their beliefs about medicine and its possibilities and limitations.


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