Corruption: A devastating factor driving inappropriate health care in India

The Canberra Times highlights the challenges facing Indian citizens who seek medical attention in "Indian doctors shed light on massive medical procedure scandal."

Usually when I think about factors that drive inappropriate health care, I imagine it's a case of "good intentions and bad results." When doctors are trying their best for patients, sometime we go too far trying to fix a disease or result and lose sight of the person (the patient). Some negative pressures, like pharmaceutical marketing, fear of lawsuits, fear of being disliked, or a misunderstanding of the latest evidence can drive providers to do thinks that are not the "best care" though these choices may have seemed like good ideas at the time.

I never thought to put BAD INTENTIONS at the top of the list of things that drive health care providers to provide 'too much medicine' or to choose unwisely. It certainly happens (eg. Mount Sinai catheterization scandal, where people are told to lie in order to get in for unnecessary cardiac catetherizations paid by the public system), but – perhaps just by my wishful thinking – it's not as prevalent as bad acts driven by good intentions.

In India, maximizing profit appears to be the number one priority of some hospitals. Extra scans, surgeries, and avoidable deaths are all the result of doctors striving to meet "revenue targets" and taking bribes.

This is a devastating state of affairs.

One solution comes in the form of  Mission SLIM: the Society for Less Investigative Medicine. Hopefully they find success advocating against unnecessary tests and treatments, though they have their work cut out for them.