Physician Groups List Unnecessary Tests and Procedures

Nine medical specialty societies questioned and have identified field-specific tests or procedures that they say are commonly ordered, but usually unnecessary. Their aim is to decrease health care overuse and misuse.

The organizations represent nearly 375,000 physicians and are part of Choosing Wisely, an initiative led by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Foundation and Consumer Reports. The nine societies include:

  • American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology
  • American Academy of Family Physicians
  • American College of Cardiology
  • American College of Physicians
  • American College of Radiology
  • American Gastroenterological Association
  • American Society of Clinical Oncology
  • American Society of Nephrology
  • American Society of Nuclear Cardiology

According to ABIM Foundation News, “U.S. Physician Groups Identify Commonly Used Tests or Procedures They Say Are Often Not Necessary,” the societies questioned these common practices for patient care:

  • Do patients need brain imaging scans like a computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) after fainting, also known as simple syncope? (American College of Physicians)
  • Do otherwise healthy adults need stress imaging tests for annual checkups? (American College of Cardiology)
  • Should patients going into outpatient surgery receive a chest X-ray beforehand? (American College of Radiology)
  • Do patients need a CT scan or antibiotics for chronic sinusitis? (American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology)
  • Should dialysis patients who have limited life expectancies and no signs or symptoms of cancer get routine cancer screening tests? (American Society of Nephrology)
  • Should women under 65 or men under 70 be screened for osteoporosis with dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA)? (American Academy of Family Physicians)

There are more societies emerging in the Choose Wisely campaign. The new societies are scheduled to release their list of unnecessary and misused test or procedures in the fall.

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