May 21, 2015 [Cross-posted with US News]
Physicians have, of late, played an amazingly small role in guiding health policy. They had little to say or do with health insurance reform, which was the major focus of the Affordable Care Act. But to some extent, they have been trying to get on the right side of history by expressing concern about growing medical care spending and identifying services they control or sell that might be eliminated. The "Choosing Wisely" campaign, for example, has recruited physician specialty societies to compile lists of medical treatments that they were formerly choosing unwisely.
No one could question efforts to deter care that is harmful or a waste of time. But if physicians expect to enlist consumers and insurers in this campaign, it would help if doctors were doing more than criticizing what other doctors do. It would help if their criticism was based on evidence of actual patterns of care observed in large data sets and if the reasons for such criticism could be well-identified. It would also help if changing the practices they criticize might lead to saving some serious money