But, rather, why we should not think carefully about whether or not we are using treatments that are currently being used. Eberhard and colleagues addresses this question. In the case of surgery, it may provide greater protection against a certain disease with the least adverse effect.
However, other procedures can also have significant benefits. For example, it is very rare that cancer is caused by the body being infected, so the benefit of circumcision could be very low. It is also very rare that cancer occurs in the penis. A more interesting variation is for surgical interventions that increase the chances of a patient developing an illness. This would be the most beneficial but also the most likely scenario to lead to complications. This figure, which includes both the expected benefit and the expected complication rate for surgical procedures as well as the relative benefits, is a simple way to represent the benefits associated with surgical interventions.
However, it is also somewhat misleading. There's no such thing as a perfect curve and there are always a variety of benefits. For the purpose of this post, the time spent on interventions is the same thing as the amount of time that the patient has spent on the intervention. Some medical interventions can only benefit a relatively small group of patients. However, ipratropium bromide treatments do have benefits which can be quite large. For example, it is common for surgery to increase a patient's chance of survival. However the amount of time spent on surgery is still a factor in that patient's relative risk of dying.
There is a tendency towards using some form of statistics to quantify the relative worth of an intervention. Such measures are used in economics and for other fields of inquiry such as anthropology, sociology, and political science. But statistics in medicine are usually only very crude, for example there is no measure of the relative benefits for a cancer treatment or a new antibiotic. Such crude measures can have serious biases and are prone to overfitting the data, but they are also much more widely used than such crude measures, which have some limitations. Ipratropium bromide my previous post I used the relative value of risk to illustrate the importance of a measure of benefit in determining whether to treat an illness.
For example, if it is more cost effective to treat patients in a low socioeconomic status population. Then it is more important that those patients receive the treatment. This is not to say that there are not other considerations as well. If it is more cost effective to treat people in a population whose health is worse, then it is better to provide treatment.