April 4th, 2012
12:01 AM ET
Forty-five tests and procedures routinely performed on patients are often unnecessary, according to a report released Wednesday by nine physician groups, the Consumers Union, and the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation.
“Many of the things that are routinely done are things that patients have come to expect and doctors have routinely ordered,” said Dr. Christine Cassel, president and CEO of the ABIM Foundation. “These are not things that should never be done, but they are things that are often overused.”
It's more ammunition to ask your doctor whether your tests and treatments are necessary, especially given that patients request many of them.
The groups looked at the scientific rational for performing each of the tests and procedures listed in the report. According to the doctors, here are five tests you often do not need:
2. An annual cardiac stress test
3. A chest x-ray before outpatient surgery
“There’s good evidence that adding a chest x-ray before you have the surgery doesn’t pick up abnormalities that the doctor needs to know about before the operation,” Dr. Cassel said.
4. A back scan within the first six weeks of lower back pain
5. A repeat colorectal cancer screening
The website ChoosingWisely.org lists all 45 tests and procedures featured in the report. It was developed by these doctors' groups along with Consumer Reports and the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation to help doctors control the cost of U.S. health care.
“This is about getting rid of the fat in the system," said Cassel. "Getting rid of waste."
From around the web
About this blog
Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.