In an essay in this week’s Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Nancy Kressin, PhD, director of the Healthcare Disparities Research Unit and professor, in the section of General Internal Medicine at Boston University School of Medicine, compares her own recent experience with gastroesophageal reflux disease and her cat’s vomiting and weight loss. Although the diagnostic path for each case varied substantially, in cost, risk, and time, the suggested approach for each was similar- a reasonably inexpensive, easily available medication to address their symptoms.
According to Dr. Kressin, “patients are increasingly being encouraged to take an active role in understanding their physician’s thinking about diagnostic testing, to express their own preferences, and potentially decline or postpone tests with limited value or excessive risks or costs. Yet it remains exceedingly difficult for even the most informed patient to do so. She believes that until patients are educated and emboldened to question the value of further testing, and until human health care clinicians include discussions of value with their diagnostic recommendations, it is hard to foresee how we can make similar progress in human medicine.
Read the entire essay in JAMA.