• 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.