Preventive medicine is that age-old theory of “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” It’s true: preventative medicine saves both doctors and you a lot of time in the long run and it will definitely save you a lot of money. If your family physician identifies problems or concerns that may lead to a more serious condition or illness later in life, that physician will have a lot easier time identifying those problems or conditions when they arise. They may be able to catch the ailment at its first stage rather than its third. This may be the difference between an antibiotics prescription and a trip to the hospital. Furthermore, preventative medicine also helps ease over-stressed and overwhelmed emergency rooms in this country. The issue is that many people go to the emergency room for primary care purposes. The emergency room was designed for emergencies. Think heart attacks, gunshot wounds, accident victims, etc. The use of preventative medicine can stave off other “unnecessary” hospital trips.
So far, preventative medicine is looking pretty good, right? Well, there is a dark side to it. There is such a thing as “going too far” with preventative medicine. With the onset of medical websites like WebMD or other symptom sites, people can use these excellent resources to figure out if they should visit a doctor or not. Unfortunately, they can also misdiagnose their symptoms. For example, someone with common cold could become convinced they have strep throat and drive themselves to the doctor. This leads to longer wait times in doctors’ offices. Additionally, more and more people are embracing the idea of preventative scannings. Their insurance companies often cover free scans for certain conditions or cancers. This sounds great, right? If it’s free and it gives you peace of mind, why not do it? However, if you’re not at risk for a condition, your use of the expensive technology and technician’s time is taking away from people who really need that equipment. Thus, prices go up for everyone and wait times increase. Ask your family doctor before you go in for a scan.