Executive physicals, just say no

A great perspective piece in the NEJM (via the WSJ Health Blog), saying that executive physicians symbolizes all that is wrong with the mindset of the American patient.

The central tenet that “more is better” is thoroughly debunked, as it should be:

Executive physicals also reinforce a related misperception “” that costlier is better, that a $3,000 examination must be worth more than one that costs 1/10 of that amount. This is an indefensible idea that should not be promoted by the health care industry. Even as individual hospitals sell these services for exorbitant fees, gratuitously overusing our health care resources, our system as a whole is appropriately straining in precisely the opposite direction, toward cost-effectiveness, transparency, competition, and accountability. With its outrageous cost and unproven efficacy, the executive physical is almost a parody of the high-cost, low-return procedures that prudent companies rightly want clinicians to eliminate for other employees.

When it comes to health care, “more”, “costly”, and “new” are not necessarily better for the patient.

Everyone needs to understand that if there is hope to control health care spending.


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