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Thursday, January 9, 2014

Too much of a good thing?
In my most recent editorial for Nursing2014, I addressed the problem of quantity versus quality, and how that’s reflected in our healthcare practice. Patient outcomes and market forces—namely, cost—are driving us to scrutinize past practices and think differently. Though advances in healthcare have saved countless lives and improved quality of life, overuse and misuse has a dark side. Examples include prescribing antibiotics for viral infections at the insistence of the patient or family; the habitual use of radiographic imaging, such as CT scanning, when other modalities may yield suitable information; and performing invasive procedures that may not clearly correlate with improved health outcomes. The related threats are significant: antibiotic resistance and the emergence of “super bugs,” adverse drug reactions, higher cancer rates from diagnostic radiation, and procedural complications. Given the risks, experts are now reconsidering some longstanding guidelines for low-yield screening studies to avoid the risks linked to false-positive or inconclusive results.
What are your thoughts on this issue? Do you agree that more doesn’t necessarily mean better when it comes to healthcare options? Does this affect how you treat your patients? Share your thoughts here!