Healthcare Business News

Don't let mammography debate turn people into statistics, and other letters

By Modern Healthcare
Posted: February 22, 2014 - 12:01 am ET

Regarding the article “Mammography debate heats up with new study”, just how exactly might a change in guidelines mean we are doing a better job of preventing breast cancer? Tell that to the 42-year-old who is saved by a mammogram when, if she'd waited till age 50, she would face a much tougher prognosis. And if you delay detection, how much more disfiguring and painful treatment, including lymph node dissection, might be needed? Early detection means better survival and better treatment options. The anti-mammogram faction clearly sees women as statistics. The way our society is moving, this mindset will only spread, cheapening human life. If the Independent Payment Advisory Board and “comparative effectiveness” parts of the Affordable Care Act are not repealed, our lives will be measured by how much we cost to treat.

Donna Hamilton
Fairfax, Va.

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Why the concern when doctors Google patients?

Regarding “Some doctors are Googling patients”, I see no problem with anyone, physician or not, Googling other people to learn more about them. With respect to physicians, if the primary purpose is curiosity, business or patient care—that is the physician's prerogative. If the search helps with small talk, patient education or acquiring business advice, I think that is fine. I believe we provide online information for others to discover if they want. Some physicians provide personal information online as well as their professional information—good for them. Others try to avoid having either online. I prefer the former; I would happily provide my Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Wikipedia profiles to those who choose to share. With respect to asking for business advice during a patient's visit, these inquiries are not new or caused by online inquiries. Our occupations are on the intake form. In times past, the physician would ask others about us or check the Yellow Pages. The patient controls that part of the conversation.

Joe Smith
Assistant professor
Doņa Ana Community College
Las Cruces, N.M.

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