Doctors play pivotal role in curbing overuse of technology

I agree with Dr Wong Hee Ong (Cut healthcare costs by reducing overuse of tech; Sept 10).

I believe doctors play a pivotal role here.

If a doctor has the confidence that a particular investigation or treatment is not necessary, he should not bring up the suggestion to the patientfor consideration.

Many patients would not know of the availability of the advanced screening equipment. But when doctors mention this alternative to them, naturally they would be worried and would like to be scanned, especially if they are covered by insurance.

There could also be a conflict of interest when doctors suggest such investigations.

To prevent that, it is important that the doctor tell the patient whether he will get a commission on the screening or not.

Even if the patient insists on getting a scan, it is important for the doctor to advise him on the probability of having a particular illness, or he could ask the patient to postpone the scan to see if he will get better.

Another point worth considering is that these expensive scanning machines should be operated 24 hours and those who go for scanning at off-peak hours should be charged a lower price.

This could alsoreduce healthcare costs.

Sim Lim Onn

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 15, 2018, with the headline 'Doctors play pivotal role in curbing overuse of technology'. Print Edition | Subscribe