Skip to comments.Annual health screening: does it do more harm than good?
Posted on 02/10/2013 11:44:51 PM PST by neverdem
Do you have an annual health check? Plenty of people do. Health screening general checks on people who dont have any symptoms is widely promoted by private doctors and health insurance companies and popular. Successful executives, who are used to being in control, understandably think of their health as another area where, if they take prudent precautions, they can minimise risks.
And they are not suggesting that doctors shouldnt screen or test patients when they suspect something is going on. They approve of targeted interventions for specific conditions.
More worrying, though, is the fact that there are the many possible undesirable effects of general checks. Stephanie Thompson and Marcello Tonelli of the Cochrane Library note that the potential for harm is likely to exceed the potential for benefit when screening is implemented in a population where the overall risk of an unfavorable outcome is low. You may get over-diagnosis, where the tests pick up a disease that, if it hadnt been detected, would not have affected the quality or length of your life. Abnormal test results can also lead to the need for more tests, which means more risk, worry, lost income due to work absences, problems getting health insurance, and potentially increased healthcare costs.
The health checks studied werent completely useless. Some of them picked up cases of high blood pressure and raised cholesterol levels...
(Excerpt) Read more at blogs.telegraph.co.uk ...
“The only people who unquestionably benefit from general screening programmes are private doctors and health insurance companies.”
I imagine these bothersome annual physicals put a huge burden on the UK’s healthcare system. PLUS - having to treat all the folks that turn up sick.
I read a report from some committee in London. The doctors were outraged that it took almost a year to get an appointment to take a hearing EXAM in the smaller, far-flung counties. They argued that it should be closer to the 6-week wait they have in London.
For a frikkin’ hearing EXAM!
Reminds me though. I’m a three years late for my annual exam. But I really was thinking earlier today to call tomorrow to set one up. Might be my last chance to get in within the week before Obamacare really kicks in.
I see my doctor 4 times a year and let him direct what I need and I request those things I’m worried about.
Wait and No are evil, vile words right there with late.
I know I'm on borrowed time, can't do a thing about it, I will be damned if I'm going to spend all my time being poked, prodded and tested. I don't make myself miserable sweating it, not about to start now.
I go when something is broken, piercing my body or I’m sick. Other than that criteria, that’s it.
I’m 54. Over the past decade, I’ve been to the doctor on six occasions....period. Like you....if it’s not broke, don’t waste time or money.
If you want to stay healthy, stay away from the doctor.
Heart disease is cheaper than cancer. Upon occasion, I go out and purchase my own tests from a third party.
So you have them now saying that early detection and prevention are a failure?
Without regular screening, how will anyone know that they have high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels? Wait until they have a stroke or a heart attack?
In the US we just need to wait a few years for the health care system to collapse under the weight of Obamacare's "free stuff" before they throw in the towel, too!
There was an article, I think it was in the New England Journal of Medicine, that concluded the economic costs of almost all screenings outweighed the costs of treating the subsequent disease. The costs of the screening and false positives was greater than the treatment of the disease. The economic benefit for screening was a benefit to the individual in which the disease was detected but an economic loss for the society as a whole. One exception was the early detection of diabetes.
The death panels approve of delayed checkups.
Disapproving tests, ensures no diagnosis or treatment.
Great way to save money!
This is Obama’s solution to Medicare and Social Security deficits.
This was written by The White House, wasn’t it?
You’re absolutely correct.
Every year cut off the life expectancy is a HUGE positive impact for SocSec and Medicare.
But you still get to vote, dead or alive. Win win for the libs.
I see him twice per year. Two years ago he caught my prostate cancer at such an early stage that we were able to destroy it with very little after effect.
Annual checkup saved my life.
Unless you have a complaint, the chances of routine physical exams helping people avoid morbidity and increasing longevity are relatively small. This opinion about the value of routine physical exams has nothing to do with Obamacare. It has been the opinion of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force since August 2005 at the least.
It you have a complaint, then that's different. Don't wait for a routine exam to address it.
But don't be surprised with questions that are offensive to many conservatives with respect to a particular amendment in the Bill of Rights during routine exams, unless you live in Florida.
Docs in Florida are challenging a recent law which prevents them from asking certain questions unless the patients sound like a threat to themselves or others, IIRC.
Annual checkup saved my life.
Most men with prostate cancer die of something else. Unless you have a family history of lethal prostate cancer or a pathology report that the biopsy had aggressive features, most urologists will recommend what's called watchful waiting.
After my diagnosis I got three opinions from 3 separate physicians; one Family Practice, one Urologist, and one Oncologist. None suggested watchful waiting. Opted for using proton radiation, 44 sessions, killed the tumor, everything now normal.
Which is why we shouldn’t believe studies like this. The criteria are socialistic. America is built upon the premise of individual liberty. We need to move medicine back toward liberty and the free market.
All the trouble and burden our current system places on society were put in place by liberals believing that the trouble and burden should be on society. Now that the bills come due on their program it’s time to tell individuals that they cost society too much.
Don’t fall for it, change it.
“The economic benefit for screening was a benefit to the individual in which the disease was detected but an economic loss for the society as a whole.”
Sounds like a background note for the creation of ObamaCare.
Perfect and brilliant response!
One needs to consider when reading articles like this, the propaganda leans towards the medical need discussion, even though it is clearly discussing economics.
Are you on Medicare and is that covering it?
I know people who’ve gone from less than annual checkups to quarterly “visits” with their doctor since they’re covered for it.
Thanks. We just need to keep our perpective and skepticism. The current problem was a solution at one time and implemented by “well-meaning” liberals.
Economics is the new new thing for liberals. They love manipulating and now they can use real numbers and statistics to prove just about anything, plus using numbers makes them look smart.
I just stick to the principles and it’s amazing how they clarify the intentionally obscured information. It’s a confidence game and social engineering. I suspect that maybe 75% of what we get as news is really PR planting a story for a purpose.
I have not seen a doctor in at least 20 years. I would have to think hard about the last one I saw. I have a dentist and see my dentist but I boycott doctors and they boycott me :)
The reason for annual or even semiannual physical is to gather numbers. The long term view can be assisted by analyzing the variance over a long period of time. Although actually seeing the patient and making a check of the actual living body yields results, the numbers gathered and analyzed are more important over the long haul.
Modern medicine is based on lots of numbers and the variance and interaction of those numbers over time. While it is possible to go overboard at any little change, it is prudent to allow time to be a part of the analysis. A change today can be checked in 6 months to determine the veracity of an important variance.
It is also true that there might be doctors that are greedy. If that is the fact, the patient is guilty of a purchasing error. Another doctor should be selected. There is also the problem of over testing resulting from fear of law suits. There is no way to remedy that problem until the current law is changed to remove the super penalties imposed. For routine care, that is also a purchasing error.
My experience this year is that the insurance company prefers to pay for checkups rather than a costly problem that could have been prevented or lessened. This is to the point where they pay a nurse practitioner to come to your home to have an interview and determine if a course of visits to the physician would be of benefit. This a proactive course. It was a problem for both me and my wife because we have the annual and semi annual care that the home visit is promoting to those who don’t or resist.
We have medicare advantage with the largest of the providers that is seriously out front promoting wellness rather than treatment after the fact. I view that as a very positive outcome
Huh? FK no. Not that there’s anything wring with someone being on medicscare.
I really would only see him twice a year like I use to but they want to see you every three months for some reason.
It use to be I’d see my doctor and dentist on the same day. Now I just waste time seeing everyone. Dr. For muh shoulder. PT fer muh shoulder. Chiropractor and Sport Physic for my shoulder and upper back. Dentist and my regular doctor.
It’s a frickin full time job and I’m bout ready to quit.
Yuge waste of my time, at this point in my life and I’d rather my time was consumed with other activities.
Couple more months and I don’t care whut. I’m done.
Oh, I get charged $100 for some visits and $150 for others. No rhyme or reason.