Saturday, September 13, 2008

Related Stories?

Could it be that these two articles appearing in major newspapers this week bear some relationship to one another?

Healing the Doctor-Patient Divide

More and more Americans feel disconnected from their doctors, especially compared to a generation ago. And they certainly have less confidence in the profession as a whole. In 1966, a Harris Poll found that almost three-quarters of Americans had “a great deal” of confidence in their health care leaders. That number has steadily dropped over the last four decades, so that today only slightly more than a third feel the same way, the same poll shows.

I can’t blame people for losing their confidence in medicine. My mother-in-law has been in and out of hospitals for the past couple of years. While a few of her doctors have been extraordinary, there have also been enough mishaps and misinformation to make me cringe every time the threat of another hospitalization looms.


Studies find knee surgery unnecessary in some cases

Two studies call into question whether many people with arthritis are needlessly undergoing one of the most common operations in America: arthroscopic knee surgery.

It is common nowadays for special interest groups representing doctors and some consumer groups to criticize insurance companies for denying treatment requests. Such criticism is warranted when those companies make financial decisions, as opposed to decisions based on what constitutes reasonable and medically necessary care.

However, most Americans would be shocked at the amount of medical treatment that is not based on clinical evidence or in accord with the professional consensus as to what constitutes best practices. The medical profession needs to pay attention to the serious causes for the loss of patient confidence.

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