Dr. Rob Lamberts hosts this week’s Grand Rounds at his new blog – More Musings (I’m sure you know him from his writing at his old blog, Musings of a Distractible Mind). He made this edition of GR into an open letter to politicians – a plea to fix what ails our healthcare system (and he notes that calling what we have a “system” is a bit of a misnomer, since it varies so much from one area to the next, and depending on the doctor, health insurance and wealth of the patient). It’s a great round-up of healthcare posts, and well worth a read.
One of my favorite articles in this edition of Grand Rounds comes from Dr. Elaine Schattner, writing about a study that found little rhyme or reason in terms of follow-up surgery rates for breast cancer patients who initially opted for lumpectomies. It appears that a breast cancer patient’s surgical treatment after a lumpectomy is often based more on the surgeon involved than the medical facts of the case. Although evidence-based medicine has gotten a lot of talk lately, the study that Dr. Schattner discusses highlights an example of how difficult it can be for a patient to receive evidence-based care. And we know how hard it is for patients to be truly informed consumers when it comes to healthcare. Even if they’re able to get basic information about pricing, it can be very difficult for a patient to realistically determine a treatment path – which is why most patients rely on their doctors for advice, especially for major illnesses like breast cancer.