Most Docs Believe Patients Get Too Many Medical Tests
WEDNESDAY, May 7, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Most physicians
believe that doctors order too many medical tests, yet half admit
to doing so themselves in response to a pushy patient, a new survey
"Old habits are hard to break, but this research suggests that
America's physicians are slowly making progress in efforts to
reduce unnecessary care," said Dr. Richard Baron, president and CEO
of the ABIM Foundation, the organization responsible for the study.
"Avoiding unnecessary medical care is important because care that
is not needed can be harmful to patients, and unnecessary care
raises health care costs for everyone."
The survey of 600 physicians, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson
Foundation, found that more than half of physicians think doctors
are best equipped to solve the problem of unnecessary tests. Just
15 percent of doctors surveyed felt the government could address
About three-fourths of doctors think the number of unneeded
tests and procedures is a very serious or somewhat serious problem.
Two-thirds think they have a great amount of responsibility to help
patients avoid such tests and procedures.
Seventy-two percent of those surveyed said the typical medical
doctor prescribes an unneeded test or procedure at least once a
week, according to the survey.
Nearly half of the doctors said that a patient asks for an
unnecessary test or procedure at least once a week. Seventy percent
of physicians said that when they explain why a test or procedure
is unnecessary, their patients usually avoid the test. Still, 53
percent of physicians said they'd ordered an unnecessary test when
a patient insists.
The survey was part of the ABIM Foundation's
Choosing Wiselyinitiative, which urges doctors and patients
to avoid overused and inappropriate tests.
"It is a promising sign that an increasing number of physicians
are accepting responsibility for reducing unnecessary medical care
delivered in the United States," said Dr. John Lumpkin, senior vice
president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, in a statement
provided by the ABIM Foundation. "Conversations between doctors and
patients about what care really is and isn't necessary have always
been hard. Only by shedding light on these issues, and being
transparent about which tests and procedures might not be needed,
will we help create a sustainable culture of health in
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