The New Delivery of Preventive Medicine

Yesterday, the Los Angeles Times asked, “How Much Medical Testing is Too Much?” The article points out that middle-aged people in the U.S.  are “bombarded with an overwhelming number of recommendations for screenings, tests and to-be-on-the-safe-side preventive measures.” And, often these tests are a matter of routine, and suggested by the physician as a traditional course of action. But how necessary are they to an individual patient with a very personal health situation?

Consumers are getting mixed messaging about what tests they need and when. For example, “The American Cancer Society recommends that women begin yearly mammogram screenings at age 40, but the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force doesn’t believe regular screening is necessary for women younger than 50.”

The hasty recommendation of these tests and screening are quite costly. According to the article, “Mammography costs the U.S. about $5 billion annually, and the bill for prostate cancer screening is estimated to be $3 billion a year.”

By having doctors follow a general rule for prescribing screenings and testing, many Americans are receiving and paying for tests they don’t need. And, consequently, the U.S. is spending billions when it doesn’t need to.

This all reinforces today’s impersonal approach to medicine, which is becoming an epidemic. SignatureMD physicians know their patients inside and out, so they can suggest the proper kinds of tests at the appropriate times. The antithesis of assembly line care, concierge medicine empowers doctors to get to know their patients on an individual level and treat them accordingly. This is the progressive method of preventive medicine.

Has your physician ever recommended unnecessary tests or screenings?