Avoid overused medical tests advise medical groups to doctors in private practice

Avoid overused medical tests advise medical groups to doctors in private practice

It is no secret that medical testing can get out of control, however, the public has unfortunately been trained that they needed all those tests to survive. Well, times are changing, deductibles are going up and people are becoming more consumers of healthcare instead of just patients. Obamacare is coming down the pike with its own set of reforms in the form of less money for medical things we were told we needed but were really unnecessary.

I suspect doctors are quite aware of the implications of not changing so 17 of specialty groups, in a similar way they did last May came out with a list of 90 tests that are overdone. Getting in front of the health care reform freight train is a good idea, since they will be seen as partners in the fight against high healthcare costs. Of course, that is a good thing but where were they five years ago, when healthcare costs were supposedly lower and Obamacare was not yet a reality. I guess, after all the fighting and lies about the presidents plan did not stop it from becoming the new reality, The NY Times reports…

Doctor Groups Issue List of Overused Medical Tests

By LAURIE TARKAN
In an effort to change entrenched medical practices, 17 major medical specialty groups recommended on Thursday that doctors greatly reduce their use of 90 widely used but largely unnecessary tests and treatments.

This list of “don’ts” builds on 45 recommendations made last April, under a broad initiative by the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation, in partnership with the magazine Consumer Reports.

“As you look through the lists, a lot of these were mea culpas,” said Dr. Eric Topol, chief academic officer of Scripps Health, a health care provider in San Diego. Dr. Topol was not involved in creating the new recommendations. “The literature had supported these recommendations, but until now they were not sanctioned as no-no’s by the professional groups,” he said.

Some of the recommendations reinforce existing guidelines, but others aggressively go after procedures that have little evidence of benefit and may cause harm, yet are still practiced on a daily basis.

For example, the American Society of Echocardiography recommended against using echocardiograms before or during surgery for patients with no history or symptoms of heart disease; doctors routinely perform this test. The Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging urged physicians not to perform routine annual stress testing using a nuclear heart scan after coronary artery surgery. This is also a routine test, and it exposes the patient to radiation equivalent to 2,000 chest X-rays.

“Many of these tests are wasteful, and they could put patients in danger of harm without any benefits,” said Daniel Wolfson, executive vice president of the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation. “The goal is to begin to change attitudes both from the public side and the physician side that sometimes less is better.”

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