Improving health care takes more than technology, patients overestimate benefits, & looking forward to #Lown2015

March 5th, 2015


In order to bring you more of the news you want to read, RightCare Weekly summarizes and interprets three important articles and provides headlines linking to the many other articles and editorials you’ll find interesting. As always, RightCare Weekly presents articles related to moving our health care system toward the right care for all patients.


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  • In Quartz, Atul Gawande, MD, says that in health care, “the most fundamental, most valuable, most critical innovations have nothing to do with technology.” His group, Ariadne Labs, is developing and promoting ways to improve how people interact with health care delivery in order to improve patient safety and outcomes. Gawande identifies a growing frustration within medicine at the disconnection between doctors and patients and between doctors and their colleagues. While technical processes within medicine may improve outcomes, he argues they are getting in the way of the real mission and values of medicine— to relieve suffering for patients.


  • In The Upshot, Austin Frakt and Aaron Carroll explore the consistent pattern of patients overestimating the benefits of treatments and underestimating the harms. A recent systematic review of studies found that patients repeatedly overestimated benefits for a wide variety of treatments, sometimes by enormous margins. For example, in one study asking patients about the benefits of screening for bowel cancer, more than half of patients overestimated the number of lives saved by screening by a factor of a hundred or more.  When patients are so in the dark, it’s hard to imagine they are giving truly informed consent, an argument made by Ben Moulton, of the Informed Medical Decisions Foundation.




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