‘Modern’ Patients Help Drive Up Health Care Costs
Patients who request specific medications and procedures, even though they may not need them, help to drive up health care costs, NPR reports: "The fact is that the behavior of patients in our health system has changed dramatically over the past couple of decades. They've transformed from passive 'patients' who almost blindly follow the doctor's orders - until the 1980s, patients regularly took pills without even knowing what they were for - into active and aggressive 'consumers' of health services. ... Then came the Internet, which put an endless amount of medical information into the hands of anyone with interest and a computer."
This "new and improved American patient" experiences benefits. "Many doctors believe that a more active patient is more likely to adhere to the doctor's medical directions, and can also help doctors by drawing attention to things that the doctor might have overlooked." NPR also notes the various problems related with such care including concerns about malpractice (Spiegel, 10/12).