I just read an interesting article, and even Dr. Ioannidis -- Mr. Medical-Industry-Is-Flawed -- is unhappy! It's here: http://healthblog.ncpa.org/hooray-cheap-lab-tests-coming-to-a-walgreens-near-you-no-physician-required/
For over 100 years, the medical establishment in America has ruthlessly attacked anyone outside their club who has threatened to cut into their profits. Midwives, herbalists, alternative healers ... the list is probably longer than I suspect, and when looked at world-wide it's bound to be huge. Hell, even INSIDE their club, if a doctor tries to reform a bad practice he gets stomped -- just google Semmelweis. And HEAVEN HELP any dentist who finds an promising treatment for cancer!
Get ready for all their heads to explode at once! An entrepreneur has developed some testing procedures OUTSIDE THE PEER-REVIEW SYSTEM! That electric fence that protects their monopoly has been breached with the complicity of the FDA -- heads are gonna roll for this.
Although very exciting indeed, for those of us who think we have a right to know what's going on inside our own bodies, i'm not going to get my hopes up TOO far yet. There WILL be a backlash, and I can imagine that access to this technology will be delayed as long as possible.
Of course, the chorus from the AMA has been, all along, that they're just protecting us from our simple-minded credulity. They're protecting us from faith-healers (not acknowledging that they do that, too). They're protecting us from snake-oil salesmen (whose products were probably not much worse than today's pet pharmaceuticals ... just higher in alcohol). They're protecting us from our misguided attempts to HEAL OURSELVES.
Some of the "protection" has been beneficial, but some of it has not. If they honestly CARED about our well-being, they'd be open to us being proactive in safeguarding our health. If they had our best interests at heart, they'd want us to change our habits before they get out-of-hand, while they're easier to manage.
It would waste less of their time -- fewer check-ups where nothing really gets accomplished. Doctors, complaining that they don't have enough hours in the day to see all the people they need to deal with, SHOULD be delighted to find their work-load reduced, but I doubt that will happen. The proportion of "intractables" would go up -- hypochondriacs, "munchauseners," and people who are worried about the results they got from their self-tests would increase, and I imagine such patients ARE their least favorites.
Of course, their time would be taken up more by people who NEED their services. But what a bad precedent -- for patients to come to the office KNOWING what is wrong with them.... Next thing you know, they'll refuse to take their statins, or go on a low-fat diet! ;-)
Jokes aside, I didn't begin writing this to pick on the medical profession as a whole. My mockery is for the INDUSTRY which does its very damnedest to disempower its clients for its own aggrandizement.
I certainly acknowledge that poorly-informed people must drive their doctors crazy with the notions they pick up on goofy television shows, advertisements, and facebook postings from nutcases and profiteers. But I also believe that brushing aside legitimate notions about averting illness through nutrition and supplementation is actively damaging to their patients' health.
IF (that big "if"...) on-demand testing for various parameters does reach people in a meaningful way, a health-care revolution will have begun in this country ... and it's long, LONG overdue.