Saturday, March 19, 2011

Light Bulb moment

Finally, a bright spark.

(Letter to the editor, Straits Times Forum, March 19)

Ban ineffective screening tests

I REFER to the reply from the Ministry of Health ("Why Medisave can't be used

for all screening tests"; Thursday) to Mr Arthur Lim's letter ("Allow use of

Medisave for more screening tests"; Monday). In the name of medical ethics,

the Ministry of Health should perhaps consider a ban on tests that are of

questionable effectiveness when used as screening tools.

Going by the phenomenal growth of some medical centres, and the increasing

complexity of some packages they offer, medical providers must be doing

a roaring business.

With some packages costing as much as $9,000, could it be that a large

proportion of tests in the packages are probably not recommended as screening

tools? And if they are, why are they even allowed to be there? Shouldn't

the public be protected from such practices?

(Addendum: I am not advocating banning these tests, some of which are useful

for patients recovering from cancer, to check for recurrences. I just hope that

this is a wake up call for both patients and doctors - patients to start asking

intelligent questions about the tests & procedures which they allow themselves

to be subjected to; and doctors to stop pushing some of these health screening

packages to laymen who may have the false impression that these tests magically

detect early cancer.

Wake up, people.)


rugs said...

simply put, we (healthcare professionals n the unsuspecting public) need to revisit the criteria that define a good screening test. people need to understand that knowing something is only as useful as the algorithm you use to process the knowledge... unfortunately many people do not think.

why is only part of your post visible on the screen?

aliendoc said...

Must be something about using a VPN to post my entries. Messes up the layout somehow.

Damn you, China.