“Bridge Over Diagnosis”

I’m going with an overdiagnosis theme this week.

Here’s the latest healthcare parody video from pharmacy professor James McCormack, as he continues his much-appreciated effort to raise awareness of overscreening, overdiagnosis, and overtreatment in this country.

As usual, this video is full of supporting statistics and excerpts from leading healthcare journals, so take time to pause the video and really understand the information being shared.

As I said in a previous post, overdiagnosis and the resulting unnecessary treatments cost hundreds of billions of dollars every year.

Equally bad, if not worse, I think, is the psychological harm caused by fear, financial stress and pain. You can’t put a dollar amount on that.

Dr. McCormack criticizes the trend to “widen the thresholds” of disease. That is, creating new conditions such as “pre-diabetes” or “pre-hypertension,” or lowering targets or goals for screening tests such as cholesterol or bone density.

I especially liked his “Little Secret” about blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose:

Less than 20% of people get a cardiovascular benefit from life-long treatment.

100% of people experience harm (side effects or inconvenience or cost or fear or [negative] labeling).

Or that:

2 out of 3 people over-estimate treatment benefits and/or under-estimate harm.

He proposes a “bridge” to span the raging river of overdiagnosis. The piers of the bridge include

  • raising awareness (of patients and physicians)
  • using the best available evidence regarding screening/treatment effectiveness
  • creating better risk/benefit/harm tools to support shared decision-making
  • mitigating financial conflicts of interest (because our current healthcare system rewards disease, not health)

If you like this video, watch more of them on Dr. McCormack’s YouTube Channel.

Or check out my other posts on the topic:


Frugal Nurse


Comments are closed.