Group: many overused medical tests, therapies - New York News

Group: many overused medical tests, therapies

Posted: Updated:

By LAURAN NEERGAARD | AP Medical Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — Don't be afraid to question your doctor and ask, "Do I really need that?"

That's the advice from leading medical groups who came up dozens of tests and treatments that physicians too often prescribe when they shouldn't.

CLICK HERE: www.choosingwisely.org

No worrisome stroke signs? Then don't screen a healthy person for a clogged neck artery, the family physicians say. It could lead to risky surgery for a blockage too small to matter.

Don't routinely try heartburn medicine for infants with reflux, the pediatric hospitalists say. It hasn't been proven to work in babies, and could cause side effects.

Don't try feeding tubes in people with advanced dementia, say the hospice providers. Helping them eat is a better option.

These are examples of potentially needless care that not only can waste money and time, but sometimes can harm, says the warning being issued Thursday from medical specialty groups that represent more than 350,000 doctors.

Too many people "think that more is better, that more treatment, more testing somehow results in better health care," said Dr. Glen Stream, former president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, which contributed to the list. "That really is not true."

The recommendations are part of a coalition called Choosing Wisely, formed by the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation. Participating medical societies were asked to identify five tests or treatments that are commonly overused in their specialty. The list is aimed at doctors and includes references to published studies. Consumers Reports and other consumer groups are publicizing the information in more patient-friendly terms.

Last year, the coalition listed 45 overused tests and treatments. It included some of the best known examples, such as too much imaging for back pain and repeating colonoscopies too frequently.

This year's list adds 90 more overused kinds of care. Some are the result of doctors' habits, hard to overcome despite new evidence, Stream said. Others come about because patients demand care they think they need.

Some other examples:

—Don't use opioid painkillers for migraines except as a last resort, say the neurologists. There are better, more migraine-specific drugs available without the addictive risk of narcotics. Plus, frequent use of opioids actually can worsen migraines, a concept known as rebound headache.

—Just because a pregnant woman misses her due date, don't race to induce labor if mom and baby are doing fine, say the obstetricians. Inducing before the cervix is ready often fails, leading to an unneeded C-section. "Just being due by the calendar doesn't mean your body says you're due," Stream notes.

—Don't automatically give a child a CT scan after a minor head injury, say the pediatricians. About half of children who go to the ER with head injuries get this radiation-heavy scan, and clinical observation first could help some who don't really need a CT avoid it.

—And don't leave an implanted heart-zapping defibrillator turned on when a patient is near death, say the hospice providers. This technology clearly saves lives by guarding against an irregular heartbeat. But if someone is dying of something else, or is in the terminal stages of heart disease, it can issue repeated painful shocks, to no avail. Yet fewer than 10 percent of hospices have formal policies on when to switch off the implants.

  • HealthMore>>

  • Affordable Care Act

    Federal courts issue contradictory rulings on Obamacare subsidies

    Federal courts issue contradictory rulings on Obamacare subsidies

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 2:30 PM EDT2014-07-22 18:30:22 GMT
    President Barack Obama's health care law is enmeshed in another big legal battle after two federal appeals courts issued contradictory rulings on a key financing issue within hours of each other Tuesday. A divided court panel in Washington called into question the subsidies that help millions of low- and middle-income people pay their premiums, saying financial aid can be paid only in states that have set up their own insurance markets, or exchanges.
    President Barack Obama's health care law is enmeshed in another big legal battle after two federal appeals courts issued contradictory rulings on a key financing issue within hours of each other Tuesday. A divided court panel in Washington called into question the subsidies that help millions of low- and middle-income people pay their premiums, saying financial aid can be paid only in states that have set up their own insurance markets, or exchanges.
  • Parents of children with autism need help, too

    Parents of children with autism need help, too

    Most therapies for autism focus on the child, but new research suggests the child's stressed-out parents could benefit from treatments designed specifically for them.
    Most therapies for autism focus on the child, but new research suggests the child's stressed-out parents could benefit from treatments designed specifically for them.
  • Blood test might help predict survival with Lou Gehrig's disease

    Blood test might help predict survival with Lou Gehrig's disease

    Simple blood tests may one day help predict survival and the course of the disease in people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also called Lou Gehrig's disease, Italian researchers report.
    Simple blood tests may one day help predict survival and the course of the disease in people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also called Lou Gehrig's disease, Italian researchers report.
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Federal authorities to monitor Newark police

    Federal authorities to monitor Newark police

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 9:37 PM EDT2014-07-23 01:37:12 GMT
    Newark police engaged in the excessive use of force, routinely stopped people on the street for no legitimate reason and regularly stole property from civilians, the U.S. Department of Justice concluded in a report released Tuesday that set the stage for federal monitoring of the police department that serves New Jersey's largest city. The report is the culmination of a three-year investigation begun months after the American Civil Liberties Union filed a complaint.
    Newark police engaged in the excessive use of force, routinely stopped people on the street for no legitimate reason and regularly stole property from civilians, the U.S. Department of Justice concluded in a report released Tuesday that set the stage for federal monitoring of the police department that serves New Jersey's largest city. The report is the culmination of a three-year investigation begun months after the American Civil Liberties Union filed a complaint.
  • White flags raised at Brooklyn Bridge

    White flags raised at Brooklyn Bridge

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 9:22 PM EDT2014-07-23 01:22:00 GMT
    The NYPD is investigating a major security breach at the Brooklyn Bridge, one of the most highly secured landmarks in New York City. Two white flags — international symbols of surrender — fluttered from poles on the stone supports that hold cables above the bridge connecting Brooklyn and Manhattan. The flags had a faint appearance of the stars and stripes. The American flags that are normally up at the bridge appeared to have been removed.
    The NYPD is investigating a major security breach at the Brooklyn Bridge, one of the most highly secured landmarks in New York City. Two white flags — international symbols of surrender — fluttered from poles on the stone supports that hold cables above the bridge connecting Brooklyn and Manhattan. The flags had a faint appearance of the stars and stripes. The American flags that are normally up at the bridge appeared to have been removed.
  • FAA bans all flights to Tel Aviv airport

    FAA bans all flights to Tel Aviv airport

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 8:52 PM EDT2014-07-23 00:52:42 GMT
    The Federal Aviation Administration has banned U.S. carriers from flying to Israel's main airport for 24 hours. The FAA made the announcement at about 12:40 p.m. on Tuesday. This comes after two U.S. airlines cancelled all flights to Israel until further notice following a rocket landing near the Ben-Gurion Airport earlier in the day.
    The Federal Aviation Administration has banned U.S. carriers from flying to Israel's main airport for 24 hours. The FAA made the announcement at about 12:40 p.m. on Tuesday. This comes after two U.S. airlines cancelled all flights to Israel until further notice following a rocket landing near the Ben-Gurion Airport earlier in the day.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices