Do doctors understand tests results...Amazing article

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Do doctors understand tests results...Amazing article

Post  Mini on Mon Jul 07, 2014 4:09 am

I have read this article with growing alarm.
Some of it did not surprise me and will not surprise you, but the  scale off  doctors ignorance (because this is precisely what it is) have horrified me.

The article illustrates plainly how doctors, and dentist, often have no idea what they are looking at, or what the implications are, when they look at test result or give advice to a patient.
How they are unable to answer valid questions in any depth concerning the best treatment, for many  serious but common problems, when pressed for any detail, so we can make best choices.

Brenda, this article might be of special interest to you, since it also deals with the issue of breast cancer treatment. Scary....
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-28166019

You don't need to log in, and although the article covers many areas of health care, it is also relevant to us, migraneurs, since we are  seldom encouraged, in fact often prevented, from asking doctors any questions concerning the best treatment, or more information so we can make intelligent choices.

I have been extremely fortunate that with my M treatment I have been able to ask questions, and offered my opinion as to my treatment, but until I found the good neurologist I went through so many arrogant idiots (which include one of my recent GP's).

I know how insecure and angry they get when you dare to ask them questions to which they have no answers because they are too lazy to learn their job properly.

There are exceptions, of course, but most doctors in various specialities are terribly insecure, and because of this they can seriously damage our health.


Last edited by Mini on Wed Jul 09, 2014 9:51 am; edited 1 time in total
avatar
Mini

Posts : 851
Join date : 2010-11-06

Back to top Go down

Re: Do doctors understand tests results...Amazing article

Post  Migrainegirl on Mon Jul 07, 2014 12:16 pm

This is less an endictment of doctors than of how people in general process statistics.  It's been well know for a long time that people do not really understand information presented statistically and it will influence their decision making.  Kahneman and Tversky did a whole bunch of research on this in the 70's and 80's (Daniel Kahneman recently got a Nobel prize for this work).

In the examples given I doubt most people would have gotten the right answer, including me, and I used to teach University level statistics. (Or it could just be migraines messing me up, but I doubt it.).  Going back to use base rates against presented statistics is just usually not what people think to do.  When people are told the odds of getting disease X is twice as much if you do Y, they naturally think twice as many people will get disease X.  But if the base rate is low (only 1 in 1000 get X), then really the absolute numbers only went up a little bit.  Doctors are as likely to fall for this as anyone.

Doctors don't get training in statistics usually, but even if they did I don't think it would help much. The research has shown that even people educated in statistics fall prey to the sorts of decision biases as others.

The real problem is how this information is presented in the research papers they read. Such papers always want to show how two groups compared ( the control against those who took some drug or engaged in some behavior for example.).  The statics are designed to show there is a difference and by how much. To get published you want this to be significant (null results rarely get published ).   So a paper that shows your likelihood of disease X is twice as much if you do Y, is far more compelling than saying your odds went from 1/000 to 2/1000.  

A compendium that presented data in a more comprehendible manner would do more to help doctors and patients than anything.
avatar
Migrainegirl

Posts : 999
Join date : 2010-07-19

Back to top Go down

Re: Do doctors understand tests results...Amazing article

Post  Mini on Wed Jul 09, 2014 9:25 am

I agree that statistics are at times difficult to read, often unreliable, often misleading. And we all know that statistics can be cleverly manipulated by pharmaceutical companies.

However, despite all this doctors need to know how to read through statistics, otherwise  it might be difficult for them to make decisions.

What struck me in this article, that apart from not being able to read statistics, doctors  who are responsible for  deciding life and death situations,  need to be able to make intelligent choices based not just on statistics alone, but also combine it with the years of their won experience, by listening to their patients and finally  by using intelligence and common sense.

For example, you do not need to know much about statistics, to know that taking too many unnecessary Xrays is dangerous. What is really scary, that even if they know that, many doctors don't seem to care.

BTW that is not to say that all doctors are like that, I just had a wonderful visit with my GP, which restored my faith in human race (even if it was not easy to find her). It is just that over the years I we have all come across some who are quite useless.
avatar
Mini

Posts : 851
Join date : 2010-11-06

Back to top Go down

Re: Do doctors understand tests results...Amazing article

Post  Migrainegirl on Wed Jul 09, 2014 5:46 pm

Oh I totally agree with you that there is a wide variety in the quality of doctors (as with most professions). Some are terrific, and others not so much. And they all are inclined to order many tests and X-rays, although that is mostly due to the litigious system we are in - defensive medicine is the norm.

That's why I'm so happy when I locate a really good one. Too bad it seems to be trial and error to find them.

I just wouldn't read too much into that guy's studies. The results are pretty consistent with people in general, not that we don't wish it were not so.
avatar
Migrainegirl

Posts : 999
Join date : 2010-07-19

Back to top Go down

Re: Do doctors understand tests results...Amazing article

Post  Mini on Thu Jul 10, 2014 3:22 am

I just tried to write, but again the page disappeared. Too annoyed now, will write later.
avatar
Mini

Posts : 851
Join date : 2010-11-06

Back to top Go down

Re: Do doctors understand tests results...Amazing article

Post  Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum