MRIs Are Often Overused in Diagnosing Sports Injuries

The US has the most expensive healthcare system in the world, literally lapping the costs of all other industrialized countries. About one quarter of our healthcare costs—$700 billion annually (5% of GDP)—comes from unnecessary care, tests and procedures that generate huge profits to providers while adding nothing nothing to our overall health or being deadly.

Over-treatment has been estimated to result in about 30,000 deaths a year. If this number doesn’t mean a whole lot to you, think of 2 jumbo jets crashing to the ground each and every week all year long—get the picture?

Patients also bear some of the responsibility for over-treatment. We often go to the doctor and demand they use the latest gadgets or procedures; instead of asking what the test will accomplish, we’re only interested in whether insurance will cover it. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is among the most overused devices in our health care system. American doctors order about 10 million each year, more than any other country. And guess what? About 250,000 of them are unnecessary. But, doctors get paid by procedure and they average about $1700 a scan. Do the math.

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