Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Medical organizations release list of 90 tests and procedures that often are not needed

News Brief by Alice Chan

If you have had an electrocardiogram, CT scan for low back pain or a chest X-ray before surgery in the past year, you may want to consider talking to your doctor about the necessity of the test. These procedures made last year’s list of 45 unneeded medical tests and procedures, as compiled by seventeen leading medical specialty societies. This year, 90 more unneeded tests were identified and added to the list. This measure to combat unneeded tests is critical, since recent estimates suggest that approximately 30 percent of money spent on health care in the United States is wasted. The American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation, a non-profit organization that oversees the “Choosing Wisely” campaign, says that the cost of unneeded tests adds up and can harm patients by their exposure to radiation.
Included on this year’s list of unneeded exams are: the induction of labor or schedule of cesarean deliveries before 39 weeks of pregnancy, unless medically necessary; placement of feeding tubes in patients with advanced dementia; and the performance of routine annual Pap tests in women between ages 30-65. By promoting this list, the “Choosing Wisely” campaign seeks to encourage patients to discuss with their physicians about the appropriate approaches to patient care.

Reference: Kowalczyk, Liz. "Medical organizations release list of 90 tests and procedures that often are not needed."Boston Globe 21 Feb 2013, online ed. Web. 5 Mar. 2013. .
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