As a part of the Choosing Wisely campaign, 6 organizations representing surgeons have contributed lists of tests and procedures that can be unnecessary and a waste of money.
The cost of American healthcare is staggering, and, often, the bill is padded with unnecessary or even harmful tests, procedures, and prescriptions.
The Chicago-based ABIM Foundation worked with dozens of professional organizations and Consumer Reports in a project called Choosing Wisely to reduce waste in the healthcare system. A total of 58 professional organizations have joined them to create a list called Things Physicians and Providers Should Question, and 6 of these organizations represent surgeons.
In addition to the lists that advise surgeons’ healthcare colleagues, documents called Patient-Friendly Resources from Specialty Societies and Consumer Reports are also available to stimulate conversations that improve care and eliminate unnecessary tests and procedures.
Each list includes specific, evidence-based recommendations providers and patients should discuss to determine each individual patient’s most appropriate care. The lists cover unnecessary tests, procedures and drugs. The documents also describe the evidence (or lack thereof) that led to the recommendation.
Among the recommendations that come from the surgical experts are these:
The Choosing Wisely site also offers downloadable patient leaflets on chest x-rays, echocardiogram, heart imaging, lab tests, medical assessments and stress tests before surgery, advising patients that, often, these tests are superfluous.
The project reminds its audience that recommendations should not be used to establish coverage decisions or exclusions. The recommendations are guidelines to determine an appropriate treatment plan with input from the patient and the healthcare team.