There are several books out there that have been written and provide knowledge regarding health policy. Many of the authors have addressed the issue differently, even though they target the same problem within the health care system. Gilbert Welch, Lisa Schwartz and Steven Woloshin are experts in health care policy and also authors. In their book titled Overdiagnosed, they have provided real-world application that would help many people understand the ways in which health policies have evolved. This book is not only engaging but also offers insightful truths about what has been happening in the health industry.
The reason for selecting this book is because of its strengths especially the ways in which the authors have looked into the issues of overdiagnosis which makes you wonder whether there are health care policy that protects the public at large. After reading the book, you will be left to wonder what health care is all about. The book offers a warning regarding overtreatment in the name of early diagnosis. It is evident based on the argument that Welch has provided that overdiagnosis is not only costly to the general public, but also causes more problems. According to the authors early diagnosis may seem healthy but in most cases, it exposes the patients into harm that is unnecessary. On the other hand, patients who were perfectly healthy can be rendered uninsurable because of the unnecessary tests that they are required to do by the physician. Rather than lowering the costs of health care, the screenings, tests and the scans demanded not only leads to overtreatment, but also raises the cost of healthcare (Welch, Schwartz & Woloshin, 2011). It is therefore worth taking time to read this book to understand health care before going out to do several tests in the name of preventing things.
Welch’s book is relevant to several interests and issues regarding health care policy. It is the role of the government to protect the patients from unnecessary treatments by formulating relevant policies. The authors have revealed the ways in which the panels of experts in health care policy are biased instead of helping the population. Monetary incentives have prevented them from doing the right thing. This is an issue of interest because there are many individuals out there who are uninsured because they are too ill yet the truth is that they had been over-treated or overdiagonized (Welch, Schwartz & Woloshin, 2011).
The book is also of interest because it exposes the changes that have taken place in the health care system that has led to overdiagnosis. Welch evaluated the past decades and also the current health care system which has dramatically increased in regards to medical condition classification. Today, when an individual is going for a particular treatment, they have to be checked several things such as blood pressure, PSA levels and cholesterol levels which all increase medical costs (Welch, Schwartz & Woloshin, 2011). It is clear as asserted by the book that the problem within the health care system is modern medicine contributed by overdiagnosis of patients.
Ezekiel Emanuel in his book titled Reinventing American Health care has also looked into the past decades. However, according to him, the Americans were vulnerable in the past before the health-care law was passed. It means that his views contradict those of Welch who believes that in the past, Americans were less vulnerable to overdiagnosis. Emanuel argues that the problem within the health care system in the nation was not only contributed by lack of funds among families but also not being able to access health care. He mentions that three quarters of the households were uninsured yet they depended on one paycheck (Emanuel, 2014). This could not enable them afford health care which was already high in the nation.
Although, just like Welch, Emanuel too agree that many Americans have been rejected by insurance companies because they are considered too sick. This is ironical because the insurance companies needs to insure their health instead rejects them with the claims of being too sick. Welch believes that it is important that health care providers start to treat only diseases which have symptoms. He looks at the case of a male individual who suffers from prostate cancer but has slow form of growths. In this case, it is better to leave them untreated because treatment will not only be costly, but also come with several side-effects which outweighs the overall benefits. It is the side-effects plus the first diagnosis that will make an insurance company rule out an individual as “too sick” preventing them from being insured (Welch, Schwartz & Woloshin, 2011). Welch therefore came to a conclusion that unnecessary treatment subjects the patients to unnecessary pain increasing the adverse outcomes of their health such as death while at the same time also increases the expenses.
The style and content of Welch’s book is perfect because he has used graphs, tables and charts to elaborate on the facts enabling the readers to have a clear understanding of the discussion. At the same time, he has used simple terms and language that is easy for any ordinary individual who is not a medic to understand the American health care culture. The elaborations provided in the book from the clinical trials and the outcomes clearly show how overdiagnosis is affecting the population at large.
One chapter that can be added in this book after reading it through is concerning the current health care system especially health care-law and the ways in which it has led to overdiagnosis of patients. This is a crucial issue that has been raised by Ezekiel and it will be good to get the Welch’s views regarding the topic.
Emanuel, E. (2014). Reinventing American health care. New York: Public Affairs.
Welch, GH., Schwartz, L. & Woloshin, S. (2011). Overdiagnosed. New York: Beacon Press.