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Wellness News Roundup: Too much healthcare, too many tests…and too much prevention

Do you know whether heartburn pills are safe for long-term use?

Quizzify knows. Click to learn more.

Too much healthcare can be hazardous to your health, as three findings released last week have shown.


  1. America’s Epidemic of Overtreatment

Health Affairs reports an epidemic of overtreatment. Author Shannon Brownlee proposes that patients “start asking uncomfortable questions,” to determine if treatments are appropriate. The problem is that employees don’t know what uncomfortable questions to ask, unless one counts: “Do you mean to say I’m not eating enough broccoli?” The questions don’t have to be uncomfortable. They get more comfortable, the more one learns about healthcare. Seems simple enough, and yet 99% of employers still don’t offer employee healthcare literacy education.


2. America’s Epidemic of Innumeracy

It would help if doctors knew the first thing about interpreting lab test results before recommending these treatments, but apparently they don’t. The Washington Post reports that professionals reading lab test results don’t understand false positive arithmetic.  As a result, your employees may be getting diagnosed and treated for conditions they don’t have.  Wellness vendors don’t understand it either. As compared to real medical professionals, the difference is that the they take great pride in their ignorance, and brag about how many false positives they find. I’m talking to you, Interactive Health.

No, they don’t. We’ll post on false positive arithmetic next week.


3. America’s Epidemic of Overprevention

As reported on They Said What Thursday, it looks like too much spending on prevention can backfire.  Specifically, spending more on employee healthcare, and sending more employees to the doctor, does not deliver better outcomes, fewer ER visits, or even more HbA1c checks for diabetics. Quite the contrary, the correlation, though weak, goes in the “wrong” direction.


Bottom line: looks like Quizzify had it right all along: just because it’s healthcare doesn’t mean it’s good for you.

 


2 Comments

  1. williammcpeck says:

    What Questions Should I Ask When___________ would be a great complement to a health literacy offering in the Awareness Building component of a comprehensive worksite wellness program. Thanks for the idea Al.

    Like

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