We have such a great medical system when it comes to diagnosing disease with advanced techniques. You don’t have to tell anyone that has been diagnosed with a potentially life-threatening disease, illness, or injury the benefits of advanced imaging, testing, and treatment! You probably know someone who has been there or perhaps yourself. There is no denying that thanks to advanced medical practices the world is a better place.
But what about when the doctor orders a lot of tests and something is found. Maybe it is serious, maybe it is not. Who is going to determine the seriousness of the malady? You? Your doctor? A specialist? Someone has to make an informed decision: you or someone on your behalf.
These advanced diagnostics are usually more expensive and do place a burden on the healthcare system. Then what about follow-up and treatment – does your doctor wait and watch or do they order more tests or do they suggest something more involved (such as surgery).
I think we have a pretty good set of checks and balances in the U.S. (if we utilize them) such as consumer watchdogs, insurance companies, and the doctors themselves. Of course, there is the internet to find out medical information – but it is buyer beware!!
The bottom line is you (the patient) or as the patient’s caregiver has to take some responsibility in deciding the direction of medical diagnosis-treatment. Don’t depend on your doctor 100% to tell you what to do. Ask questions, read up on the subject (from reliable sources), and don’t be afraid to ask for help. And by all means get a second opinion!
Yes, it may not be convenient but it is yours or your loved ones health at stake!
“Ignore your health and it will go away” <Unknown>
Overdiagnosis poses significant threat to human health.