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Dr. Nortin Hadler: Better care means challenging “what everybody knows”

We’ve talked with and featured our friend Dr. Nortin Hadler here on the blog for years.  Hadler has been writing great books for a long time on the subject of unnecessary and often harmful overtreatment and how we can get our health system to deliver better care.  His latest book is Rethinking Aging.  As the subtitle says, it’s about growing old and living well in an overtreated society where for many people any deviation from how you felt at 20 years of age means months of doctors and tests.  In a recent interview with Kaiser Health News (the N+O featured it last weekend with photos of him on his bike) Hadler reiterated his simple approach – don’t use medical treatments that have been shown through years of rigorous evidence not to work or be any better than what we already do now.

This includes most heart bypasses and stents.  Hadler’s views are called “controversial” but, as this latest interview shows yet again, his critics never actually cite any evidence to back up what they are saying.  If we want to get serious about building a better health system, actually looking at the evidence – even when it challenges the current financial and social norms of what health care we think we need – is critical.

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