Saturday, November 21, 2009

Inside Surgery on the New Mammogram Guideline

More on why I'm appalled with Expert Panels taking over practice in the name of reform: we'll get political medicine looking for budget fixes; and that's exactly what's happening with this latest goofy guideline. Via Inside Surgery
The federal government released new guidelines this week that recommend some startling changes in how women should be screened for breast cancer.

Current recommendations call for most women to get a baseline mammogram at the age of 40 and to get yearly screenings thereafter.

However, the 17 member panel of the United States Preventive Services Task Force (none of whom are oncologists or breast specialists) that made the recommendations now say that women who are of average risk of contracting breast cancer should begin regular, routine mammograms at the age of 50 and that yearly mammograms are not necessary. They are also recommending that women abandon the practice of self breast exams.

Should one infer then that if the panel is not recommending mammogram screening and not recommending self-exam, they are not recommending any diagnosis of breast cancer before age 50?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Sam Shem at HIS talk on Mammograms and Health Care

at HIS Talk today,
Re: mammograms. An independent body, after review and analysis of eight clinical trials, comes out with EVIDENCE that mammogram screening in under-40-year-olds has little or no value. What happens? The radiologists are up in arms and the Obama administration, in the person of DHHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, tells patients to just keep doing what you did last year. And they want to cut costs by a billion dollars over the next decade to pay for national health insurance? If anyone really believes this country will ever control the costs of health care, they are living in a dream land!”

Interesting, too, that nobody’s paying much attention to the study that showed that electronic medical records haven’t improved outcomes or cost so far, even as the government is spending lots of money on those, too. At least EHRs have potential. In an economy where jobs are dying out, politicians don’t have the guts to make serious change since the people unhappy with health care don’t have the clout of those who like it just fine. I cited statistics here years ago saying that health care was making a staggering economy look robust because of rising costs, profits, and high employment, all unsustainable in a global economy.
I suppose the question then is how confident anyone can be the government as opposed to markets can make Health Care a sustainable sector in the economy.

Considering the Gov's placing its bets on tick-box medicine, voodoo economics on preventive med, and EHR; I'm not very confident. I think it has to do with politicians guts and lack there of. Sarah Palin maybe? She has guts.