The June 3 cover story feature “For what it’s worth” noted that measuring low-value care is the first step to reducing services that drive most unnecessary healthcare spending.
Yes, but what about patient-satisfaction scores and the multitude of websites where patients can complain about that “merciless” physician who gave no pain medication for their backache or no antibiotics for their earache or respiratory infection? There are consequences to bad or at least premature attempts at bypassing classic methods of care like a good history and a good physical exam for a patient known well to their physician.
Then we have the litigation worry of that low-risk patient experiencing a cardiac event.
There are drivers of additional care costs, and maybe we should first examine why they exist. An industry with massive regulatory requirements resulting in huge administrative costs with extraordinary litigation risk confounded by poorly thought-out technologies like the electronic heath record and poor use of telemedicine all occurring in a virtually noncompetitive top-down environment is not going to see any significant reduction in costs from measuring the wrong problem. It is not possible to regulate, legislate or litigate an industry into producing value.
Dr. Allan Dobzyniak