Only 14% of older Americans believe more healthcare is better: 5 findings


Older patients tends to disagree with physicians about whether specific medical tests or medicines are truly necessary, with only 14 percent of Americans over age 50 reporting they believe more healthcare typically equates to better healthcare, according to the National Poll on Healthy Aging.

The Ann Arbor-based University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation polled a nationally representative sample of 2,007 Americans between ages 50 and 80 on their perceptions about the overuse of tests and medications.

Here are five findings from the poll.

1. One in four patients said their own healthcare providers frequently order tests or prescribe drugs they do not believe are necessary.

2. Fifty-four percent of patients said healthcare providers in general often recommend unnecessary medications, tests or procedures.

3. One in six patients said their healthcare provider recommended a medication, test or procedure they felt they did not need in the last year. Of these patients, the most common services perceived to be unnecessary were tests, including X-rays or blood tests (43 percent) and medication (37 percent).

4. However, half of the patients who thought the test or medication was unnecessary went for the test or filled their prescription anyway.

5. Approximately 1 in 10 patients said their physician or other healthcare provider told them a test or medication they asked for was unnecessary. Of these patients, most reported their provider explained why they did not need this service (79 percent), but 40 percent of patients said they did not completely understand this explanation.

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