Wednesday, March 09, 2011
will doctors become obselete?
Always a source of amusement, KevinMD, recently wrote one of his commentaries on why doctors are increasingly ordering more and more tests. He basically says that because of the easy access to medical technology (i.e. CTs, MRIs) and the fact that young doctors have grown up and learned with said technology, they have come to rely on it for diagnosis rather than on physical exam.
He sites an article in Time.com, written by a couple of doctors in which they state:
"Another reason for overtesting is simply that new doctors can't function without them. Lately, radiology tests have become a crutch: doctors in training are no longer taught how to distinguish patients who need testing from those who don't."
Another juicy quote from the same article: "There is actually a more subtle positive incentive: ordering a test — cost aside — takes less effort than spending the time to think about whether it's really needed."
Here is my thought: If so little critical thought goes into what could really be going on with the patient, and care is based on a symptom that triggers a certain test, why do we need doctors anymore? Surely someone who makes a lot less money, or a computer, could make decisions about ordering tests. An algorithm could be made in which symptoms are presented to a cheaper employee or computer, and a set of tests are ordered. Based on the results of those tests a diagnosis is made. Makes sense to me. Are doctors becoming obselete?
Posted by girlvet at 3:55 PM