Survey taps attitudes about health care delivery

| 1 Comment

A new NPR-Kaiser-Harvard survey reports:

• Patients generally do not ask about the costs of medical or lab tests they receive. Only 22 percent say they have done so in the past two years.

• Half of the public believes the American health system has a “major problem” with patients receiving unnecessary tests and treatments and even more, two-thirds, say the system has a major problem with “too many patients not getting medical tests and treatments they need.” But far fewer believe that they have ever experienced an unnecessary test or treatment (16%) or been undertreated (14%).

• Seven in ten Americans believe that there is not always clear scientific evidence about which treatment is likely to work best for any one patient. And about half report that they have talked to their doctor about scientific evidence (48%) or how well a treatment works compared to other less expensive treatments (46%) as reasons for their doctors’ treatment recommendations. But the public is guarded about the idea that government agencies, independent scientific bodies, or insurers could make decisions about which tests and treatments should be covered by insurance. For example, less than half (41%) would trust experts from an independent scientific organization appointed by the federal government “a great deal” or “a fair amount” to make such a recommendation.

Please note that journalists have done the weakest job - after three years of analysis on HealthNewsReview.org - in covering the costs of treatments, tests, products and procedures ---- and in quantifying their harms and benefits.

We reported last week at the Association of Health Care Journalists conference in Seattle that roughly 70% of 750 stories reviewed inadequately covered costs, benefits, and harms.

So journalism isn't helping as much as it could in helping consumers understand these issues.

By the way - HealthNewsReview.org had its THIRD ANNIVERSARY last week.

1 Comment

It is very important for us as Americans to be actively involved in our healthcare. It is vital that we advocate for ourselves. We need to ask questions about our care and the tests being completed to manage our care. I am a nurse and know more than the average person when it comes to healthcare; however, I have difficulty asking my healthcare providers questions about my care. I think most people assume that their physician knows best. Whatever they recommend must be the best treatment. Patients are undertreated or overtreated for many reasons. A patient may be undertreated due to lack of insurance, a health plan that pushes for cost control, or lack of education about treatment options. Overtreatment occurs with the wealthy, highly insured, and with people who push for unnecessary testing. I believe we need to ask about the cost of our care (office visits, lab tests, diagnostic testing, ect.). We also need to know that there is a valid reason for completing the tests. I have had problems in the past when it comes to questioning why something was being done. I feel physicians are often annoyed when questioned about the care they are providing; nevertheless, we need to continue to be knowledgeable about the cost and quality of our healthcare.

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This page contains a single entry by Gary Schwitzer published on April 22, 2009 9:07 AM.

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