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Many older Americans want less treatment

Created date

April 19th, 2018
A new poll indicates that of those whose doctors recommended unwanted tests or prescriptions, only about half of patients complied.

A new poll indicates that of those whose doctors recommended unwanted tests or prescriptions, only about half of patients complied.

A new poll shows that when it comes to medical tests or medicines, few people over age 50 think more is better.

The National Poll on Health Aging showed that over half of respondents said their health providers recommended tests or prescribed medicines that patients didn’t necessarily need. The poll was conducted on a representative sample of over 2,000 U.S. adults between the ages of 50 and 80 by researchers from the University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation.

Unwanted test, prescriptions

Of those whose doctors recommended unwanted tests or prescriptions, only about half of patients went through with the test or filled the prescription. Most of them said the doctor explained their reasoning, but 40% did not understand the explanation.

On the flip side, about 10% of patients said they asked for a particular test or medication, but their health care provider thought it was unnecessary.

The researchers say that these results highlight the need for better communication between health care providers and patients. If each party understands the other’s reasons, the rate of redundant medical testing and over-prescribing could decrease, which could improve people’s health and also reduce health care costs.

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