I just read this article in the Los Angeles Times and wanted to share with my readers.
The overuse of CT scans, like the overprescription of antibiotics, is I believe emblematic of a medical system that is under increasing pressure to perform, and perform fast and effectively, with less and less infrastructure to support the healthcare providers to provide the best care to their patients. HMOs are requiring doctors to see more and more patients an hour, cutting down the quality time both doctors and patients want to give and receive. Patients want results right away. Doctors want results right away. Insurance companies want patients in and out of hospitals as quickly as possible yet be making lucrative money.
It is also the scare - the fear - that patients have. As the article says, many patients get the CT scans, even if they seem perfectly healthy, because they are afraid of some lurking tumor or disease in them. And it really is the irony that by exposing themselves to these unnecessary levels of radiation that may ultimate cause the cancer they were hoping to prevent.
While our healthcare system is currently going through major upheavals, the one thing patients have in their control is to be completely aware and educated about every test and procedure that are going to be done to them and for what reason. If it's invasive, find possible less invasive or non-invasive alternatives. I believe the more educated, empowered and in control patients are of their health and healthcare, the better they can prevent diseases, and should they need to receive medical services, that it would allow them optimal, effective healthcare.
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