June 15, 2015

The “Less Is More” Medical Campaign – Part 4

About two-thirds of the doctors surveyed have tied the 'less is more' approach to care by limiting "low-value" tests or procedures.  The doctors report pushback from patients and said that patients resisted their efforts and requested more tests and other procedures even though they had been advised otherwise.

Nearly 390 doctors completed the survey for MedPage Today from May 4 to 15.  The survey is not a true representation of the medical community, but it still shows how some doctors balance providing healthcare to patients who think they need certain procedures or tests.  Unnecessary testing is a serious problem and this is identified by 85 percent of the survey respondents.

If we are to believe the survey report, it says more than 80 percent of the physicians say they are trying to limit what the view as “low-value” procedures.  According to the 80 percent, CT scans, MRIs, and x-rays are the three most common tests as providing low value for the costs or risk.  What they fail to say is that occasionally the use of these three tests are absolutely necessary.  I can agree that they are overused, but if they are attempting to eliminate these tests, many people will not be diagnosed properly.

Most of the doctors quoted in the MedPage Today article were adamant that they work with patients to avoid unnecessary procedures and tests that will not add to the value of their care.  I actually like this, “Knowing when a screenings are necessary can come down to experience,” said Michael Rothstein, MSN, FNP, who works at the New York College of Podiatric Medicine.  "I tell my students that 'you have to know when to limit so you're not doing the million-dollar workup unnecessarily," he said.

From the different articles that comprise the group of 'less is more' series, it is fairly obvious that many hospitals and some doctors do more tests and procedures than needed to determine what is ailing a patient.  It has been interesting that more examples were not used, but this will not be the last blog in this series.

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