Doctor Panels Recommend Fewer Tests for Patients
In a move likely to alter treatment standards in hospitals and doctors’ offices nationwide, a group of nine medical specialty boards plans to recommend on Wednesday that doctors perform 45 common tests and procedures less often, and to urge patients to question these services if they are offered.
The recommendations represent an unusually frank acknowledgment by physicians that many profitable tests and procedures are performed unnecessarily and may harm patients. By some estimates, unnecessary treatment constitutes one-third of medical spending in the United States.
“Overuse is one of the most serious crises in American medicine,” said Dr. Lawrence Smith, physician-in-chief at North Shore-LIJ Health System and dean of the Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine, who was not involved in the initiative.
What is the "regression fallacy"
The regression fallacy ascribes cause where none exists. The flaw is failing to account for natural fluctuations.
Things like golf scores, the earth's temperature, and chronic back pain fluctuate naturally and usually regress towards the mean. The logical flaw is to make predictions that expect exceptional results to continue as if they were average.
When his pain got worse, he went to a doctor, after which the pain subsided a little. Therefore, he benefited from the doctor's treatment.
The pain subsiding a little after it has gotten worse is more easily explained by regression towards the mean. Assuming the pain relief was caused by the doctor is fallacious.