People think doctors are all-knowing

Just got off a call going over the release of a poll by the Campaign for Effective Patient Care. The biggest takeaway for me was this: 65 percent of people in California think that their medical care is backed up by solid scientific evidence. Of course in reality – as Shannon Brownlee writes in the group’s report –

In a landmark 2008 report, the prestigious Institute of Medicine reported that at most half of the care that doctors deliver is evidence-based.

This is important to the health care debate – people have been awful upset about comparative treatment reviews (the extremists think looking at how effective something is and how much it costs will lead to death panels). But at the same time nobody wants care that’s not effective – we all want our doctors to know what treatments work and what don’t. How to explain this contradiction? Well this poll explains it. People oppose comparative effectiveness research because they (65 percent) think their doctor already knows what’s best for them. So a minority that sees this research as cover for a rationing regime is not drowned out by the reasonable majority who should be saying we want to stop spending so much (and being injured by) care that doesn’t work.

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