My concern was heightened by a study just published as a letter in the March 6 Journal of the American Medical Association, in which the authors claim that they were able to predict likely mortality 10-years out. From “Predicting 10-Year Mortality for Older Adults”:
Extending the index from 4 to 10 years did not diminish the model discrimination (validation cohort,C statistics 0.817 vs 0.834; P= .35), suggesting that the risk factors important for 4-year mortality prediction are also important for 10-year mortality prediction. The model compares favorably with other mortality indexes that predict mortality beyond 7 years…Patients identified by this index as having a high risk of 10-year mortality may be more likely to be harmed by preventive interventions with long lag times to benefit, whereas patients identified as having a low risk of 10-year mortality may be good candidates for such interventions.
Thus, (say) if a colonoscopy is identified as not having a positive cost benefit for seven or more years (as the article indicates), such screening for those whom the computers predict are likely to die within ten years might not be covered.
Read more from this story HERE.