Tiered medicine: Should slacker patients get special treatment?

Health and medicine explained.
July 14 2011 6:37 PM

My Dog Ate My Prescription

Should slacker patients get special treatment?

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One problem, of course, is that people tend to overestimate their abilities and assume they should receive the most complex, effective treatment strategies in every case. Perhaps the answer is to create explicit treatment levels—perhaps graded by high, medium, and low intensity or difficulty—and then allow patients and doctors to choose explicitly among them. That way, at least we're acknowledging how health care works in the real world.

Darshak Sanghavi, a pediatric cardiologist, is a fellow of the Brookings Institution and Slate’s health care columnist. Follow him on Twitter.