Overtreatment in Health Care
We all know that something has to be done about out of control rising health care costs. We all, however, have different opinions on what the controls or cuts should be, and the national debate is certain to heaten up and continue for quite a while. The American College of Physicians has just released an important report that moves this conversation in helpful directions. Medical specialists from all areas, including oncology, were asked to suggest five common procedures or treatments that are not cost effective, but are commonly used. I have been hearing about this for some time as my husband was one of the oncologists asked to submit the list for ASCO.
This is a report from Reuters about this effort. I give you the beginning and a link:
Stemming the Tide of Overtreatment in U.S. Healthcare
By Debra Sherman
CHICAGO (Reuters) Feb 16 - A leading group of U.S. doctors is trying to tackle the costly problem of excessive medical testing, hoping to avoid more government intervention in how they practice.
The American College of Physicians (ACP), the largest U.S. medical specialty group, is rolling out guidelines to help doctors better identify when patients should be screened for specific diseases and when they can be spared the cost, and potentially invasive procedures that follow.
Many individual U.S. medical centers have launched their own efforts to build a protocol of patient care in fields such as diabetes or obstetrics, but the ACP effort has the potential to influence doctors nationally. ACP members include more than 132,000 physicians, mainly focused on internal medicine.
"Excessive testing costs $200 billion to $250 billion (per year)," Dr. Steven Weinberger, executive vice president and chief executive officer of the ACP said in an interview from his office in Philadelphia. "There's an overuse of imaging studies, CT scans for lung disease, overuse of routine electrocardiograms and other cardiac tests such as stress testing."
In an article published last month in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the ACP cited 37 clinical situations where screening did not promote health and might actually hurt patients.
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