The following article appeared in the New York Times on April 13, 2015. I have often compared primary care physicians to teachers; sometimes the comparisons worked and sometimes they did not. This article looks at testing in both arenas, medicine and schooling. Abigail Zuger compares school-based standardized tests and her work one day of spending five hours seeing 14 patients and ordering 299 diagnostic tests. Do you agree with the analogy she draws? Why?
I spent the usual long afternoon at work doing little but ordering tests, far more than I honestly thought any patient needed, but that’s what we do these days. Guidelines mandate tests, and patients expect them; abnormal tests mean medication, and medication means more tests.
My tally for the day: five hours, 14 reasonably healthy patients, 299 separate tests of body function or blood composition, three scans and a handful of referrals to specialists for yet…
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