Too much medicine? Pandemic proves many procedures are unnecessary, say Quebec doctors
MONTREAL -- Can there be such a thing as too much medicine? Some doctors think so, and they say the pandemic has helped prove their point.
Dr. Guylaine Theriault says that in just four months, COVID-19 has prevented about a million non-essential medical procedures from being done in Quebec.
Theriault is one of the leaders of a group called Choosing Wisely Canada. The coalition is a broader entity that was first founded in 2012, but recently, some Canadian doctors who work with the group wrote an editorial about what they’ve seen during the pandemic.
Canadian experts had already estimated that 20 to 30 per cent of routine testing and diagnosis really isn’t necessary. Those were naturally eliminated with the urgency of the pandemic, Dr. Theriault explains.
She and other doctors aren’t talking about delayed tests, but ones that truly weren’t needed.
The doctors who wrote the editorial, who were with Quebec’s College of Family Physicians, argued that while some patients were likely harmed by missing treatments and tests at the beginning of the pandemic, some were later likely helped by not having some procedures available that they didn't really need.
The system has adjusted, become more streamlined and geared towards urgent cases, they argue.
Canada isn’t alone in this observation. The Quebec doctors’ editorial was picked up by the British Medical Journal, as many other countries are also re-evaluating the value of routine medical tests.
Watch Dr. Theriault's interview in the video above to learn more.