Consistance des maladies virtuelles
Publié par Luc Perino, médecin généraliste, humeur du 31/10/2018
La morbidité se définit comme
- un “état de maladie“
- ou un “caractère relatif à la maladie“.
Ces définitions sous-entendent que la morbidité est vécue par le patient avant d’être comptabilisée par la médecine. La troisième définition est statistique :
- “pourcentage de personnes atteinte d’une maladie donnée“.
Désormais, la médecine se propose d’intervenir avant les premiers signes de maladie. Le dépistage organisé et la détection des facteurs de risque créent ainsi une nouvelle morbidité qui n’est plus vécue par les patients. Une image suspecte, une cellule anormale, une prédisposition génétique, un chiffre élevé de pression artérielle, de sucre ou de cholestérol ne sont pas des signes ressentis par le patient mais des informations qu’il reçoit de la médecine. Cette morbidité est donc virtuelle pour le patient.
Si je peux comprendre l’intérêt de la biomédecine pour ces maladies virtuelles, je suis toujours surpris de la docilité avec laquelle ces patients “virtuels” acceptent ces nouveaux diagnostics et les vivent comme des maladies dont ils auraient réellement ressenti les symptômes. Ils les vivent même parfois avec une intensité dramatique supérieure à celle d’une maladie réellement vécue.
Pourtant, un grand nombre d’images ou de chiffres suspects, disparaissent comme ils apparaissent sous l’effet de multiples facteurs variables et labiles. On peut être hypertendu pendant deux ans et ne plus l’être pour tout le reste de sa vie. On peut avoir une cellule cancéreuse sans que jamais n’apparaisse ni tumeur ni métastase. Dans leur grande majorité, les prédispositions génétiques restent indéfiniment à l’état de prédisposition.
Le plus surprenant est la définition rétrospective de ces virtualités à partir d’une proposition théorique de soin. C’est exclusivement l’idée d’un soin qui leur confère une réalité morbide.
Cette inversion complète des processus diagnostiques et thérapeutiques répond merveilleusement aux nouvelles normes mercatiques et informatiques de notre monde auxquelles la médecine n’a pas de raison d’échapper. Ce n’est plus le patient qui vient proposer au médecin des symptômes vécus dans l’espoir qu’il ne s’agisse pas d’une vraie maladie, ce sont les médecins qui proposent des pathologies virtuelles que le patient va alors vivre comme de vrais maladies.
Avec cette nouvelle normativité, aura-t-on encore besoin de l’expertise clinique des médecins ? Si oui, quel sera alors l’utilité de ces nouveaux experts ? Nous avons de bonnes raisons de penser que leur rôle principal consistera à dissimuler un diagnostic de maladie virtuelle lorsqu’ils estimeront que le fait de la donner à “vivre” pourrait dégrader la santé plus que ne le ferait la maladie réelle supposée évitable…
Vaste programme à inscrire d’urgence dans le cursus universitaire médical…
En Savoir Plus
Why do millions of people a year get tests and procedures that they don’t really need ?
Researchers estimate that 21% of medical care is unnecessary.
Kaiser Health News senior correspondent Liz Szabo moderated a discussion a panel of experts to explore overtreatment.
KHN panelists were:
- Dr. Louise Davies, An associate professor of otolaryngology – head and neck surgery in The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice
- Dr. Saurabh Jha, an associate professor of radiology at the University of Pennsylvania
- Dr. Barry Kramer, director of the division of cancer prevention at the National Cancer Institute
- Dr. Jacqueline Kruser, a pulmonologist and critical care physician at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
- Dr. Ranit Mishori, professor of family medicine at the Georgetown University School of Medicine.
- Video source : KHN was live.
Are crowdfunding sites promoting quack treatments for cancer ?
Figures published by The BMJ show how crowdfunding for alternative therapies for patients with terminal cancer has soared in recent years. But there are fears that huge sums are being raised for treatments that are not backed by evidence and which, in some cases, may even do then harm, MedicalXpress reports.
JustGiving’s own figures show more than 2300 UK cancer related appeals were set up on its site in 2016, a sevenfold rise on the number for 2015.
The phenomenon has allowed less well-off patients to access expensive, experimental treatments that are not funded by the NHS but have some evidence of benefit. But many fear it has also opened up a new and lucrative revenue stream for cranks, charlatans, and conmen who prey on the vulnerable.
“We are concerned that so many UK patients are raising huge sums for treatments which are not evidence based and which in some cases may even do them harm.”
The society’s project director, Michael Marshall, said.
Melanie Newman, freelance journalist, London, UK, examines calls to help ensure patients and their donors are not being exploited.
Featured image credit @bmj_company.
Renaming low risk conditions labelled as cancer
Removing the cancer label in low risk conditions that are unlikely to cause harm if left untreated may help reduce overdiagnosis and overtreatment, argue The BMJ
Evidence is mounting that disease labels affect people’s psychological responses and their decisions about management options. The use of more medicalised labels can increase both concern about illness and desire for more invasive treatment. For low risk lesions where there is evidence of overdiagnosis and previous calls to replace the term cancer, we consider the potential implications of removing the cancer label and how this may be achieved.
Our changing understanding of the prognosis of cancers
Some cancers are non-growing or so slow growing that they will never cause harm if left undetected. A prime example is low risk papillary thyroid cancer. Autopsy studies show a large reservoir of undetected papillary thyroid cancer that never causes harm, and the incidence of thyroid cancer has risen substantially in many developed countries. This rise has been predominantly driven by an increase in small papillary thyroid cancers, with mortality remaining largely unchanged. These small papillary thyroid cancers are increasingly being detected because of new technologies, increased access to health services, and thyroid cancer screening. Studies show that rates of metastases, progression to clinical disease, and tumour growth in patients with small papillary thyroid cancer who receive immediate surgery are comparable with those in patients who follow active surveillance.
Likewise, for both low risk ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) and localised prostate cancer, detection strategies have become controversial as long term outcomes for both conditions have been shown to be excellent and there is evidence and concern about overdiagnosis and overtreament. Given the potential harms of overtreatment of DCIS, active surveillance is now being trialled internationally as an alternative approach. …
… continue reading Renaming low risk conditions labelled as cancer on The BMJ, 12 August 2018. Image credit @bmj_company.
Paulo Foundation International Medical Symposium, Helsinki, 15 – 17 Aug 2018
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- A Free Access Literature Awareness Portal That Surveilles High Quality Research and Guidelines to Inform Benefits and Downstream Harms of Screening and Prevention Strategies in Healthcare
- From “Non‐encounters” to autonomic agency. Conceptions of patients with low back pain about their encounters in Finnish health care system
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The Recommended Dose, with Alexandra Barratt
Hosted by acclaimed journalist and health researcher Dr Ray Moynihan, The Recommended Dose tackles the big questions in health and explores the insights, evidence and ideas of extraordinary researchers, thinkers, writers and health professionals from around the globe. The series is produced by Cochrane Australia and co-published with the BMJ.
Press Play > to listen to the recording.
Dr Ray Moynihan’s guest has led something of a double life, using both medicine and the media to explore and promote the critical role of evidence in healthcare. Now based at the University of Sydney, Alexandra Barratt‘s journey from clinician to journalist to global advocate for evidence based medicine and shared decision-making is a fascinating one.
Here Alexandra talks with Ray about her varied career and the reasons she’s ended up challenging conventional wisdom. She also talks about her research into the pros and cons of breast cancer screening and questions the widely-accepted idea that early detection is always the best medicine.
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2017 Update on Medical Overuse : A Systematic Review
2017 Study Abstract
To identify and highlight original research articles published in 2016 that are most relevant to understanding medical overuse or strategies to reduce it.
A structured review of English-language articles on PubMed published in 2016 coupled with examination of tables of contents of high-impact journals to identify articles related to medical overuse in adults. These articles were appraised for their importance to medicine.
This study considered 2252 articles, 1224 of which addressed medical overuse. Of these, 122 were deemed most relevant based on originality, methodologic quality, and number of patients potentially affected. The 10 most influential articles were selected by author consensus. Select findings from the studies include the lack of benefit of transesophageal echocardiography in the workup of cryptogenic stroke, increasing use of computed tomography in the emergency department from 2.2% to 9.4% from 2001 to 2010, and carotid ultrasonography and revascularization being performed for uncertain or inappropriate indications with 95% frequency. Likewise, services for which harms are likely to outweigh benefits include treatment for early-stage prostate cancer, which provides no mortality benefit but increases absolute risk of erectile dysfunction by 10% to 30%, oxygen for patients with moderate chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, surgery for meniscal tear with mechanical symptoms, and nutritional interventions for inpatients with malnutrition. This review highlights 2 methods for reducing overuse: clinician audit and feedback with peer comparison for antibiotic use (reduction in inappropriate antibiotic use from 20% to 4%) and a practical and sensible shared decision-making tool for low-risk chest pain (reduction in emergency department workup from 52% to 37%).
Conclusions and Relevance
The body of empirical work continues to expand related to medical services that are provided for inappropriate or uncertain indications. Engaging patients in conversations aimed at shared decision making and giving practitioners feedback about their performance relative to peers appear to be useful in reducing overuse.
Overtreatment Is Common, Doctors Say
Researchers surveyed 2,106 physicians in various specialties, from the American Medical Association (AMA) masterfile, regarding their beliefs about unnecessary medical care. On average, the doctors believed that 20.6 % of all medical care was unnecessary, including 22.0 % of prescription medications, 24.9 % of tests and 11.1 % of procedures.
2017 Study Abstract
Overtreatment is a cause of preventable harm and waste in health care. Little is known about clinician perspectives on the problem. In this study, physicians were surveyed on the prevalence, causes, and implications of overtreatment.
2,106 physicians from an online community composed of doctors from the American Medical Association (AMA) masterfile participated in a survey. The survey inquired about the extent of overutilization, as well as causes, solutions, and implications for health care. Main outcome measures included: percentage of unnecessary medical care, most commonly cited reasons of overtreatment, potential solutions, and responses regarding association of profit and overtreatment.
The response rate was 70.1%. Physicians reported that an interpolated median of 20.6% of overall medical care was unnecessary, including 22.0% of prescription medications, 24.9% of tests, and 11.1% of procedures. The most common cited reasons for overtreatment were fear of malpractice (84.7%), patient pressure/request (59.0%), and difficulty accessing medical records (38.2%). Potential solutions identified were training residents on appropriateness criteria (55.2%), easy access to outside health records (52.0%), and more practice guidelines (51.5%). Most respondents (70.8%) believed that physicians are more likely to perform unnecessary procedures when they profit from them. Most respondents believed that de-emphasizing fee-for-service physician compensation would reduce health care utilization and costs.
From the physician perspective, overtreatment is common. Efforts to address the problem should consider the causes and solutions offered by physicians.
- Overtreatment in the United States, PLOS one, doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0181970, September 6, 2017.
- Physician perceptions on top three reasons for overtreatment featured image credit journals.plos, September 6, 2017.
- Overtreatment Is Common, Doctors Say, nytimes, SEPT. 6, 2017.
- Our overdiagnosis, overtreatment video playlist on YouTube.
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