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Shocking news: US docs believe patients are being over-treated

But only by other doctors, of course.

A survey of over 2000 physicians from an online community composed of doctors from the American Medical Association, whose members tend to be on the more conservative side, found that these docs felt that over 20 % of medical care in the US (procedures, tests, medications) were “unnecessary”.

The most common reasons given by these docs for why so much medical care was over-done included “fear of malpractice (84.7%), patient pressure/request (59.0%), and difficulty accessing medical records (38.2%)”, and most interestingly for a system in which the more you do, the more you make, most doctors also felt that “physicians are more likely to perform unnecessary procedures when they profit from them”, the old never-fail “follow the money” standard.

So what about Canadian docs?

Well, we clearly don’t stand to benefit nearly as much as American docs do from doing too much on our patients, but those other reasons given for unnecessary medical care certainly apply up here so the bottom line is that lots of care up here must be unnecessary, too, especially I think, over-prescribing (just consider that at least 60-70 % of prescriptions for antibiotics for respiratory problems are unnecessary and how many of those scripts are given out every winter cuz “it might be bronchitis”) and tests (“It’s probably just a paper cut, Bob, but let’s do a couple of tests just to be sure.”)