(TIME) — As health costs soar, patients are emptying their pockets for care that may not make them healthier, research suggests.
Many surgeries are medically necessary and even lifesaving—but increasingly, evidence suggests invasive care isn't always best.
The findings upended assumptions about cardiac care, says co-author Dr. Robert Harrington, a cardiologist and the chair of the department of medicine at Stanford University. Harrington says doctors have long assumed surgery is the way to go for patients with blocked arteries–but the new study adds nuance to that notion. “We can’t just trust our intuition. We need data,” Harrington says. “I actually think this is a good thing for medicine, to pause and think, Why do we do that?”
Across the medical field, doctors are reconsidering the status quo. Many surgeries are medically necessary and even lifesaving–but increasingly, evidence suggests invasive care shouldn’t always be a physician’s knee-jerk reaction.