Article

Your Health, Your Choice

When it Comes to Medical Tests and Treatments, Sometimes Less is More

Peri Kinder

July 9, 2013

Many people in the medical profession believe the healthcare model should not allow the incentivizing of procedures and tests. Of course, some procedures are essential and save lives, but the project’s goal is to create a climate of minimally disruptive medicine: do the minimum amount necessary to solve a patient’s problems.

“In the past, there’s been a lot of defensiveness among hospitals, doctors and the medical community,” Jackson says. “I’ve seen a big change over the past couple of years that a conservative choice is a healthier choice.”

Several years ago, Jackson faced the possibility of back surgery. But his doctor had him watch a video explaining the risks and benefits of several different procedures that could be used instead of surgery. Jackson decided to forgo surgery and has no regrets—and no back pain.

“It’s OK to question your doctor,” he says. “Sometimes a doctor will have the perception that a patient expects the most aggressive or high-tech procedures—and it’s not necessarily true.”

In the past, patients have taken a doctor’s recommendations without any hesitation. But most doctors appreciate an educated patient asking the right questions. As technology develops, clinical screenings will find more early stage or pre-cancerous conditions that might not ever become full-blown cancer, but people are afraid if they don’t get treatment, they’ll die.

Talking to their doctor about options can help patients determine the best course of action. And sometimes that action means waiting to see what progresses. As each patient’s situation is unique, physicians and patients should work together to determine the most appropriate treatment plan.

“We’re moving to a medical approach where physicians manage care that includes more non-invasive, holistic practices,” Smith says. “It will have a huge impact in our lives.”

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