Listing of 90 Overutilized Medical Tests and Procedures can Help Patients Avoid Unnecessary Expenses, if Used Wisely
A recently released list of 90 overutilized tests and treatments can help patients work with their doctors to make informed decisions about whether a test is truly necessary.
The list was developed by 17 medical specialty groups under an initiative by the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation, in partnership with Consumer Reports magazine, according to The New York Times. Some procedures were deemed often unnecessary and wasteful, while others exposed patients to unnecessary risks, such as the following:
- Echocardiograms used before or during surgery on patients with no history or symptoms of heart disease unnecessarily expose them to radiation levels equal to about 2,000 chest X-rays.
- Using CT scans to diagnose minor head injuries in children exposes them to unnecessary radiation.
- Inducing labor or performing Caesarian sections prior to the 39th week of pregnancy exposes infants to a number of risks, including learning disabilities and respiratory problems.
- Annual pap tests are often unnecessary unless patients have an elevated risk of cervical cancer.
Of course, patients need to recognize that most medical tests and procedures exist because they provide value when used under the right circumstances. Simply refusing a test because it is on the list of 90 overutilized tests makes no more sense than undergoing procedures you do not need. You should take a proactive approach to your medical care by discussing concerns with your doctor to learn if the benefits of these procedures exceed the costs or risks. Additionally, if you already suffered serious illness or injury caused by unnecessary tests or procedures, contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney to learn about any available legal options.