Overtreated: Why Too Much Care is as Bad as Too Little
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Americans worry about not getting medical care they need, because they are uninsured or underinsured. They are far less likely to consider the risks of getting unnecessary care, which accounts for 20 to 30 percent of the care delivered in the U.S. Overtreatment puts patients at significant risk of medical error, adverse events, and suffering unnecessary pain and discomfort, especially at the end of life. Overtreatment is also costing us between $600 and $800 billion annually. What are the factors that encourage the delivery of unnecessary care? How can we redesign the system to give patients what they need, when they need it, and no more? And will health care reform efforts in Washington address this issue?