With health care costs in the United States racking up over two trillion dollars every year, some are pointing fingers at unnecessary or over-prescribed testing by doctors. At the moment, the organization has come up with about forty-five tests that may be over-prescribed.
The American Board of Internal Medicine initiated the "Choosing Wisely" campaign, and, with the support of the American College of Cardiology and Consumer Reports, they are encouraging doctors and patients to be hesitant before ordering or submitting to tests. Here is a short list of tests which "Choosing Wisely" considers over-prescribed. at the moment, there are 45 tests that they list as over-prescribed.
- Colon cancer screening: According to the American Gastroenterological Association, do not need to be conducted more than once every ten years for patients who do not have a family history of the cancer. If a colonoscopy receives a negative result, the patient can wait a while before the next one.
- Sinus infections: According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, are also receiving too many CT-Scans and unnecessary antibiotics.
"Choosing Wisely" advocates that doctors and patients consider four points before prescribing or submitting to certain tests.
- The ordering of the tests should be supported by evidence.
- The tests should be "doubling up" on similar tests and procedures previously received.
- The tests should not be harmful to the patient.
- The test should be necessary.
The main point of this is to create a dialogue between doctors and patients that can cut to the core of the prescribed test or procedure. A good discussion can potentially expose a test as unnecessary. Patients should be asking what the risks are of the tests versus the benefits. That said, it’s always a good idea to side on getting the test for more thorough evaluation of the medical issue at hand.
To find out more about the "Choosing Wisely" initiative, see their main website. Once there, you can find links to the full lists of "unnecessary" tests.