Society values preventative measures to stop bad things from getting worse. Unfortunately, these measures are often executed in the face of vast uncertainty. In the healthcare world, this means that patients are actually suffering. Sometimes no medicine is the best medicine. Here's what you need to know.
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"most of these abnormalities will not go on to cause disease. But because clinicians don’t know which will and which will not, we tend to treat everybody... The biggest problem is that overdiagnosis triggers overtreatment, and all of our treatments carry some harm [especially when executed unnecessarily]."
- More doctor visits
- More serious illness or disability
- More deaths from previously treatable illnesses
- Less effective or more-invasive treatments
- More expensive treatments
- Longer recovery times
What does this mean for you?
As Dr. Frances describes, "this is a David vs Goliath struggle. The forces that benefit from massive overdiagnosis can martial hundreds of billions of dollars a year to promote and protect it. The forces supporting rational medical decision making have access to just a few million dollars a year." In addition to this blatant power imbalance, doctors are also inclined to overdiagnose due to the legal system. In most countries, doctors are punished for underdiagnosis, but not overdiagnosis.
You can take steps to make sure you don't fall victim to this detrimental spiral, and discourage its existence. When you are dealing with a doctor, don't pressure them to give you medicine. And the next time you're feeling sick with something not too serious, don't rush for treatment. Take a bit of time before going to see the doctor. If you're sick you probably just need to take some time to rest at home. Talk to a doctor from home on RingMD, right now. Sometimes the best medicine is no medicine. Just because something like an antibiotic is quick and easy, doesn't mean it's best for you in the long run. Sometimes it is, but you should see a doctor and let them decide.
We're trying to make healthcare more accessible and convenient for everyone. In some places, like Singapore, this means making your primary care experience more convenient. In other places, such as rural India, this means helping people see doctors for the first time in their lives. We think this is important stuff. We're always looking for ideas that could help more people. If you have any cool ideas, we'd love to hear from you! And when you're sick and need a doctor, remember that RingMD is here for you, wherever you are.
We're also focusing on increasing access to mental healthcare. If you're thinking "I need a therapist near me" but don't know where to start, try the RingMD therapist directory. We will help you find the right therapist for YOU!
Lastly, if you're a doctor or wellness expert considering offering virtual care services, here are some arguments to consider. Thousands of people a month, in Singapore alone, search for things like "doctors near me" or "gp near me", if you're looking to grow your practice this is a great way to do it.