“Medical science is making such remarkable progress that soon none of us will be well.” (Aldous Huxley)
The just completed conference ‘Preventing Over Diagnosis’ was easily the most important meeting I ever attended. Sponsored by the British Medical Journal, Consumer’s Reports, and Dartmouth and Bond Universities, the goal was to identify the excesses in medical care and to figure out how to correct them.
The evidence is compelling that we in the developed countries (especially the US) are overtesting for disease, overdiagnosing it, and overtreating. Wasteful medical care of milder or nonexistent problems does more harm than good to the individual patient, diverts scarce medical resources away from those who really need them, and is an unsustainable drain on the economy.
The causes of medical excess are many and powerful...