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Journal of the American Medical Association on the Harms of Overscreening

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They Said What has always noted the complete and utter worthlessness of screening the stuffing out of employees. The wellness vendor response to this observation?  To double down on overscreening. One recalls the immortal words of the great philosopher Inspector Louis Renault: “Owing to the seriousness of this crime, I’ve instructed my men to round up twice the number of usual suspects.”

Here is one such vendor, the lucky recipient of a follow-up profile to be published next month.

Their litany of tests before my initial observations about their overscreening were published:

Their current roster of tests, setting a new wellness industry record:


However amusing it may be to remark on the rampant epidemic of very stable genius-itis in the wellness industry (and it is), screening the stuffing out of employees is no laughing matter. It is harmful. Here is the current Journal of the American Medical Association on the harms of screening. Unfortunately the entire article is behind a paywall, but the abstract basically highlights the wellness industry business model:

Overused tests and treatments and resultant downstream services generate 6 domains of negative consequences for patients: physical, psychological, social, financial, treatment burden, and dissatisfaction with health care. Negative consequences can result from overused services and from downstream services; they can also trigger further downstream services that in turn can lead to more negative consequences, in an ongoing feedback loop.

This is of course exactly what hyperdiagnosis is all about — and the poster child for hyperdiagnosis is none other than the winner of the 2017 Deplorables Award, Interactive Health. A single Interactive Health display captures it all, the breathless braggadocio about sending employees to the doctor because they flunked one or more of the 43 tests that Interactive Health runs, with no regard for the harms that JAMA has identified:

So, in all seriousness, can we please, please stop the hyperdiagnostic madness and start screening according to the US Preventive Services Task Force guidelines?


In the immortal words of the great philosopher Pat Benatar, hit me with your best shot.

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