Millions Squandered in Unnecessary Tests

May 20, 2006

Economics

Once again, we learn that unnecessary medical tests are costing the U.S. health care system millions—and potentially billions— of dollars per year, and add unnecessary patient stress, say researchers from Georgetown University Medical Center and Johns Hopkins University in the June issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. The uathors say that among the many reasons that diagnostic interventions which lack evidence of benefit in asymptomatic patients are used are: Studies have shown that many patients have expectations of receiving particular tests when visiting physicians. It is possible that physicians are ordering these tests defensively, to guard against potential lawsuits. Physicians may not be aware of USPSTF recommendations. There may be a financial incentive to ordering these tests, especially if a physician’s office includes a laboratory. Abput onxce a decade we see research that repats the information that a good hostry adn physical exam are far more use than batteris of tests. I wonder how much is the result ofthe seond observation. Our legislators, mostly lawyers, seem uninterEsted in changing the current state of affiARS..