Interesting take over at the technology blog GigaOM (via Healthcare Economist).
Rapidly advancing technology is bringing sophisticated diagnostic tests, like genetic screening, to the masses. Many are undergoing these studies, without the benefit of rigorous data to ensure that there is a benefit.
We already know that unproven testing can lead to patient harm, in the form of false positives, unnecessary invasive testing, and patient anxiety. In addition, it can lead to a significant, possibly unneeded health care burden:
Thanks to technology, such diagnostics are now within the reach of consumers. As more people test themselves, doctors and insurers may face the additional burden of just-in-case surgery and a “previvor“ mentality. So, will technology cure health care, or kill it? . . .
. . . Will widespread diagnostics increase the burden on healthcare? Somewhere between 10 and 50 percent of autopsies reveal diseases other than the one that killed the patient. If consumers test themselves, then tell their doctors, the medical system could wind up treating 50 percent more diseases than it does today “” even those that wouldn’t have killed the patient.