This Annals commentary discusses the paradoxical finding that most patients are at below-average risk and can expect to experience less-than-average benefits from a treatment. This "Lake Wobegon effect," the authors argue, can result in too many patients being screened, diagnosed, and treated.
Use this paper to:
- Speak with a physician with expertise in biostatistics.
- Understand that better use of risk-prediction in research and clinical practice will help us focus attention on patients most likely to gain from our interventions.
- Review the figure - and be sure you understand why a treatment can be worthwhile for patients on average, yet not worthwhile for the average patient.