Health care spending in the United States is out of control. The most significant aspect of medical care driving this spending is pharmaceuticals; within pharmaceuticals the greatest increases have been in spending for diabetes medications. The cost of insulin analogs has increased 5- to 6-fold in the last 10 years for no particular reason. More than 90% of US patients who use insulin use these analogs, despite the fact that they have few if any clinical benefits relative to regular or NPH insulin, which cost 1/10 as much. Aside from the cost of insulin, diabetes is probably treated far more aggressively than necessary since clinical trials demonstrating the benefits of aggressive glucose control for type 2 diabetes demonstrated vanishingly small benefits of this form of treatment. In this podcast we discuss the perplexing case of spending too much money on diabetes treatment.
The American College of Physicians just changed its guidance for how aggressively to treat type 2 diabetes, relaxing the HbA1c goal to something below 8 rather than 6.5 or 7 as other organizations recommend. This has stirred up substantial controversy. The rationale behind this decision is presented in this podcast.
For many years guidelines have recommended against obtaining ECGs for low-risk patients undergoing routine health examinations. Yet about a fifth of all patients having these exams get an ECG. Why? Are clinicians just stubborn or uninformed or are the guidelines missing something clinicians are concerned about?
Read the article: The Screening ECG and Cardiac Risks