Why We Are Where We Are...Ask Why

We often read, talk and hear about the rising costs of health care. but how did we get to this point? Greed? Corruption? Liability? A complete lack of caring? Perhaps these reasons hold partial truths to the matter. But in my observation, a large part of why things happen is because few people ask the simplest of questions before ordering or undergoing a test - WHY?

One of my earliest medical rotations as a medical student was in Internal Medicine. The Director made a simple, yet profound comment, that I have always since carried with me: "Ask WHY before you order any test."

It seems straightforward, yet it does not seem to be the main focus behind usual decision-making that occurs between doctors and patients.

If there is no definite reason for a given test or procedure, then what might be the benefit of the results? Fishing expeditions are rarely fruitful.

This simple admonishment allows me to think more clearly when I try to figure out a patient care question. It is essential that doctors and patients alike ask WHY before any test or procedure. After all, it is your body we are talking about. You have a vested interest in this game, even if you do not directly (yet) see the costs associated with the questions being asked and e tests or procedures being performed.

Paul Doriohealth care, costs