“Thanks to some dazzling advances in preventive medicine and public health, doctors in almost every specialty of medicine now have a panoply of proven preventive recommendations to keep their patients from getting sick. And as the number of validated interventions has grown, so has the pressure on doctors to remind their patients of all the now-standard advice in the course of a 15-minute office visit.
“Faced with an impossible task, some physicians have thrown up their hands and chosen to focus on only a couple of topics at each visit. Others have resorted to handing out typed lists of the recommendations for patients to read at home. But an increasing number of doctors, under mounting pressures from insurance companies and others to prove that they are delivering quality care, are simply scrambling to cover as many of the wellness recommendations as they can, piling on the dos and don’ts in what a colleague of mine once referred to as ‘the grand information dump.’”