Believing in Treatments That Don't Work

Dr David Newman considers the example of Beta-Blocker medication use in patients with heart attacks. Studies show that using these medications might make patients with heart attacks go into heart failure, rather than protecting the vulnerable heart. He cites numerous other examples of treatments that make sense by deductive reasoning, but aren't in fact beneficial.

Ideology trumps evidence . . .

Treatment based on ideology is alluring. Surgeries to repair the knee should work. A syrup to reduce cough should help. Calming the straining heart should save lives. But the uncomfortable truth is that many expensive, invasive interventions are of little or no benefit and cause potentially uncomfortable, costly, and dangerous side effects and complications.

Read more on the Well Blog of the NY Times.


Challenges in Australian policy processes for disinvestment from existing, ineffective health care practices

In Australia, the government has taken many steps to avoid funding ineffective treatments. However, there have been many issues with creating public policy, including lack of evidence for or against many existing interventions.

The term disinvestment in health care is gaining prominence internationally. It relates to the processes of (partially or completely) withdrawing health resources from any existing health care practices, procedures, technologies or pharmaceuticals that are deemed to deliver little or no health gain for their cost, and thus are not efficient health resource allocations. The goal of reducing the use of ineffective technologies or practices has been central to Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM) for well over a decade.

Read more in Aust New Zealand Health Policy via PubMed.