Advice on Preventing Overuse of Diagnostic Testing

January 13, 2012 | Strategic Insights for Ambulatory Care


Physician practices may be interested in a December 30, 2011, USA Today article discussing how the overuse of diagnostic testing can harm patients’ health in addition to increasing healthcare costs. According to the article, most patients are not aware that diagnostic testing carries some risks, such as risks directly associated with the test (e.g., radiation), the risk for a false positive, and the risk that a condition will be identified that would not have been clinically significant but now will be treated. Some experts say patients must become more active by asking whether tests are necessary. "My experience shows you how hard it is," said Steven Weinberger, M.D., executive vice president and chief executive officer of the American College of Physicians (ACP). He admitted, "You don't want to antagonize the person who's going to provide your care. Sometimes the easiest road is to just go along."

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