Doctors unveil campaign to cut 45 unnecessary medical tests

By David Edwards
Wednesday, April 4, 2012 16:12 EDT
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A doctor examines a test tube. Photo: Shutterstock.com, all rights reserved.
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A group of nine medical specialty boards representing 375,000 doctors on Wednesday announced a list of 45 tests and procedures that they say doctors should perform less often or not at all.

Through its “Choosing Wisely” campaign, the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation is urging doctors to reduce unnecessary medical spending by cutting certain “routine tests” — even if it impacts their profits.

“Overuse is one of the most serious crises in American medicine,” North Shore-LIJ Health System physician-in-chief Dr. Lawrence Smith told The New York Times. “Many people have thought that the organizations most resistant to this idea would be the specialty organizations, so this is a very powerful message.”

Some of the tests include EKGs done when there is no sign of heart trouble, M.R.I. procedures for back pain and antibiotics prescribed for mild sinus infections.

Consumer Reports found in 2010 that nearly 50 percent of adults had received screenings for heart disease even though the tests were “very unlikely or unlikely to have benefits that outweigh the risks.”

A 2011 survey determined that over 80 percent of primary care physicians said they had ordered tests that may have been unnecessary because they were concerned about being sued.

Photo: Shutterstock

(H/T: The Washington Post)

David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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