I suspect this underestimates the problem. I think a lot of ‘chasing incidentalomas’ in medicine start here:
Two doctors in Colorado scanned through 14 randomized, controlled studies involving 182,000 patients. The articles spanned from 1963 to 1999. The doctors looked at whether those who had regular check-ups had higher mortality rates than their counterparts who dodged such visits. They could not find a difference.“General health checks do not improve important outcomes and are unlikely to ever do so based on the pooled results of this meta-analysis spanning decades of experience,” write authors Allan Prochazka and Tanner Caverly. ”There remains a belief in the value of general health checks despite the accumulating evidence. This belief is buoyed by screening advocacy groups and insurance coverage, and they have ramifications for patient welfare and health care costs.”
They point out that Canada actually stopped paying for ‘routine checkups’ in 1979.
(Please understand I’m not including chronic condition maintenance in this category, like CHF or diabetes visits, as once you’ve got a chronic condition that’s where office visits probably really do help).