Category Archives: Medical Decision Making

Five Warning Signs Your Doctor Was Too Quick To Diagnose You With High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is the silent killer. It puts people at risk for heart attacks, strokes, vascular disease, kidney failure…it is basically really bad to have longstanding, undertreated high blood pressure. But it is also harmful to be told you … Continue reading

Posted in Health & Well-being, Medical Decision Making

Here’s How a Great Doctor Helps Her Patient Make a Cost-Conscious Treatment Decision

Sometimes in my research on physician/patient communication, I come across a doctor who is so good with her patients, I have to share their bedside manner with you. The most recent example is a (to remain unnamed) oncologist in the … Continue reading

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The Question Isn’t Whether We Are Overdiagnosing Cancer, But How Much

Medical experts now agree that as a result of aggressive screening programs, we have an epidemic of cancer overdiagnosis in the United States. With mammograms finding tiny cancers and PSA tests discovering unpalpable prostate cancers, we are now unearthing some … Continue reading

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If You Look for Cancer, You’ll Find It

What would you like first: the good news or the bad news? Let me start with the bad. Life expectancy among patients in the U.S. with thyroid cancer lags behind that in Korea. In fact, the vast majority of patients … Continue reading

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Millions To Be Made On…Generic Drugs?

It is well accepted among health economics wonks that the lion’s share of pharmaceutical company profits come when these companies hold exclusive rights to their products. Once their blockbuster pills go “generic,” competitors enter the marketplace and profits plummet. Consider … Continue reading

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The Hidden Psychology of Antibiotic Prescribing

Experts in decision psychology and behavioral economics have conclusively shown that humans, those silly creatures, are not always rational decision makers. They let unconscious forces influence their thinking, and not always for the better. But of course, doctors aren’t human. … Continue reading

Posted in Behavioral Economics and Public Policy, Medical Decision Making | Tagged ,

Podcast on the Challenge of De-adoption

Here is a podcast I participated in, put out by folks at GWU. A quickish interview on the challenge of getting doctors to stop doing things they ought to stop doing. You can also listen to it on iTunes, or … Continue reading

Posted in Health Policy, Medical Decision Making

The High Price of Affordable Medicine

In the old days, blockbuster drugs were moderately expensive pills taken by hundreds of thousands of patients. Think blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes pills. But today, many blockbusters are designed to target much less common diseases, illnesses like multiple sclerosis … Continue reading

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Are Patients Harmed When Physicians Explain Things Too Simply?

A quick quiz before we start today’s lesson. What do we call a tree that grows from acorns? What do we call a funny story? What sound does a frog make? What is another word for a cape? What do … Continue reading

Posted in Behavioral Economics and Public Policy, Medical Decision Making | Tagged ,

The Lost Art Of Not Ordering A CAT Scan

She didn’t talk like a stroke victim. “I…I…I…k…kkk…can…can…can’t…t…t…t…talk.” She struggled with her words, struggling on early syllables, only to then spurt out full and correct words. “N…N…N…No.” Recognizing this unusual speech pattern, the neurologist Allan Ropper, author of Reaching Down … Continue reading

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