Investigator David S. Jones, MD, Ph.D, authored a book that resulted from his 2007 Investigator Award project. Broken Hearts: The Tangled History of Cardiac Care, published in 2013 by The Johns Hopkins University Press, examines the influence of intuition on medical decisions, the quality of those decisions, and the evolution of cardiac care in the United States.
Over one million individuals experience cardiac symptoms and undergo cardiac procedures in the U.S. each year. However, these procedures carry significant risks and it is unclear whether the decision to intervene medically is always the best course of action. Jones investigates changes in the understanding of heart attacks, the emphasis in the medical community on medical interventions, and the efforts to understand unexpected complications of medical interventions.
Jones also explores persistent underestimates of risk by physicians and analyzes the resulting effects on intervention frequency. In a piece for the RWJF Human Capital blog, Jones wrote, “It is far easier to study the desired outcomes of an intervention than its expected or unexpected complications. As a result, doctors often end up with more thorough knowledge of a procedure’s efficacy than of its risks, an asymmetry that introduces a bias in favor of medical intervention.”
Jones believes that it is necessary for patients, health care providers, and policy makers to have a sense of “healthy skepticism about claims or efficacy” and advocates for a more comprehensive look at the consequences of therapeutic interventions.
From the publisher: “Jones explores the history of cardiology and cardiac surgery in the United States and probes the ambiguities and inconsistencies in medical decision making. Based on extensive reviews of medical literature and archives, this historical perspective on medical decision making and risk highlights personal, professional, and community outcomes.”