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President Obama on Access to Medical Information

Published Jun 15, 2009

REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT AT THE ANNUAL CONFERENCE OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION, June 15, 2009

[Excerpt]

The second structural reform we need to make is to improve the quality of medical information making its way to doctors and patients. We have the best medical schools, the most sophisticated labs, and the most advanced training of any nation on the globe. Yet we are not doing a very good job harnessing our collective knowledge and experience on behalf of better medicine. Less than one percent of our health care spending goes to examining what treatments are most effective. And even when that information finds its way into journals, it can take up to 17 years to find its way to an exam room or operating table.

As a result, too many doctors and patients are making decisions without the benefit of the latest research. A recent study, for example, found that only half of all cardiac guidelines are based on scientific evidence. Half. That means doctors may be doing a bypass operation when placing a stent is equally effective, or placing a stent when adjusting a patient's drugs and medical management is equally effective - driving up costs without improving a patient's health.

So, one thing we need to do is figure out what works, and encourage rapid implementation of what works into your practices. That's why we are making a major investment in research to identify the best treatments for a variety of ailments and conditions.

Source: White House Office of the Press Secretary - http://www.whitehouse.gov/thepressoffice/Remarks-by-the-President-to-the-Annual-Conference-of-the-American-Medical-Association/

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