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This man wants to eliminate billions of dollars in unnecessary medical treatments

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It’s not uncommon in the medical field for doctors to prescribe treatments that are unnecessary for their patient due to old traditions, outdated training, a simply hunch, or just to cover their own asses. However, a doctor by the name of David Newman believes that it doesn’t have to be this way, and has launched a new website that aims to fix this issue.

Newman’s website claims to quantify the potential benefits and harm of various treatments, rather than relying on subjective human expertise. Considering that unnecessary medical treatments cost the United States hundreds of billions of dollars, not to mention the massive pain and suffering it causes the patients, this seems like a step in the right direction.

The formula that Newman used to develop his website is based on a system developed by epidemiologists back in the 1990’s called the “number needed to treat” (NNT). What this essentially means is the number of people who would need to endure a specific treatment in order for a single person to benefit.

A good example is the NNT for Zofran, an anti-vomiting medication, which is 5. That’s a pretty good number, it means that statistics show that for every 5 people that take the medication, 1 of them will stop vomiting. In contrast, the NNT for taking aspirin to avoid a heart attack is 2,000. That adds up to a lot of wasted aspirin.

Read more about the story at Wired.

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