We’re all familiar with the problem of medical mistakes: the patient who goes in for a routine operation and gets a staph infection and dies.
But there’s an even bigger problem:
“Thirty percent of everything we do in health care may be unnecessary, according to the Institute of Medicine, our most respected body,” says Dr. Marty Makary, a surgeon at Johns Hopkins and the author of “Unaccountable: What Hospitals Won’t Tell You …”
Makary recently wrote in the Wall Street Journal that every week medical errors kill enough people to fill four jumbo jets.
“There is tremendous potential for reducing the overall level of harm, if we just look at what we don’t need to be doing.”
And why do doctors end up ordering unnecessary tests or performing unnecessary operations?
“Forty-six percent of doctors are burned out, according to a recent Mayor Clinic study. Of course, when you have your front line providers burned out, in any industry, there’s going to be worse care. There’s going to be variability.”
And more and more, doctors have concluded that the only way they can provide good care is to drop out of the system:
“Primary care doctors across the country are now saying ‘we’re going to leave the profession as we know it and open up our shop’ where if you prescribe to their services, that is if you pay them $1,000 or $2,000 per year, you can have their cell phone number. They’ll make house calls, they’ll spend two hours doing a history and physical exam, and they’ll ask you about your sleep habits and exercise. They’re doubling their pay, they’re practicing medicine the way they’ve always wanted to, and they don’t have to hire people to fight with insurance companies.”