The United States health care system, led by seventeen groups including The American Academy of Family Physicians have recently added 90 more common tests and procedures, bringing the total to 135, that are frequently ordered unnecessarily and can even cause further harm and injury on a patient.
Examples of some of these 90 procedures include: CT scans for minor headaches, C-section deliveries for healthy women before 39 weeks of pregnancy, using feeding tubes for dementia patients and ultrasound tests for ovarian cysts.
The list of unnecessary tests and treatments also includes:
• Routinely performing annual PAP tests for women 30 to 65 years old.
• Prescribing antipsychotic medication as a first choice to treat behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia.
• Prescribing testosterone in men with erectile dysfunction and normal testosterone levels.
• Screening healthy people — with no symptoms — for cancer using a PET/CT scan.
• Treating an elevated PSA in men with antibiotics when no other symptoms are present.
• Prescribing Xanax, Valium, Ativan, and other drugs known as benzodiazepines in older patients as a first choice for insomnia, agitation or delirium.
Spending more doesn’t always translate to better quality. This is proven true by the fact that Americans spend $2.7 Trillion each year on health care (more then any other developed nation) but the quality of care they receive often falls short. Helping patients and doctors become more aware of these dubious procedures not only helps increase patient care, but could also contribute towards trimming America’s intimidating health care costs.
“Twenty-five of the nation’s leading medical specialty societies have now spoken up and shown leadership by identifying what tests and treatments are common to their profession, but not always beneficial,” said Christine K. Cassel, M.D., president and CEO of the ABIM Foundation. “Millions of Americans are increasingly realizing that when it comes to health care, more is not necessarily better. Through these lists of tests and procedures, we hope to encourage conversations between physicians and patients about what care they truly need.”