Monday, September 21, 2015

Living in the Land of Too Much

As consumers of health care far too often we are mislead to believe that more is better. We live in the era of too much. Too much testing, too much medication, too much hospitalization, etc. All this leads a significant financial strain on the system. According to a 2012 article in the JAMA, too much resulted in $158 - $226 billion wasteful spending in 2011. 

 More and more, providers are recognizing the importance of having a system where less is done to patients and more done for them. The Right Care Alliance Network is such a group working towards achieving this goal. In October providers will launch what is known as the Right Care Action Week (October 18-24) where they will collective pledge to act so health care dysfunction is highlighted and they work to devise strategies to take corrective action to prevent it.  
However, the burden for change is not on providers alone. As consumers of health it is our job to take action as well. When a test is ordered question what information will be gained and how it will be used to improve your well being. When medications are prescribed, ask why and if there is any other actions that could be taken first, such as lifestyle change. When a procedure is suggested know what outcome to expect and if it will make a significant change in your quality of life.  
How to Stop the Overconsumption of Health Care will require teamwork between consumers of health and providers of care. Each has a significant part to play in order to bring about a shift in old behaviors.

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