Group: many overused medical tests, therapies - FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.com

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>>

  • What influences our dreams at night?

    What influences our dreams at night?

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 11:06 PM EDT2014-07-31 03:06:16 GMT
    When our heads hit the pillow at night, we all dream, experts say. But can something influence what we dream about? Dr. Ross Levin, a behavioral sleep specialist and clinical psychologist, says there is an abundance of urban myths about dreams. No, good and bad smells or spicy foods won't influence your dreams. But reading or watching something scary before you go to bed might cause you to dream about something disturbing.
    When our heads hit the pillow at night, we all dream, experts say. But can something influence what we dream about? Dr. Ross Levin, a behavioral sleep specialist and clinical psychologist, says there is an abundance of urban myths about dreams. No, good and bad smells or spicy foods won't influence your dreams. But reading or watching something scary before you go to bed might cause you to dream about something disturbing.
  • Florida warns beachgoers of flesh-eating bacteria in state waters

    Florida warns beachgoers of flesh-eating bacteria in state waters

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 11:30 AM EDT2014-07-30 15:30:45 GMT
    One person in Sarasota County, Fla. has died from “flesh-eating bacteria,” officials there confirmed.  According to a spokesperson with the Florida Department of Health, the patient was middle-aged and had chronic health problems.  The patient contracted the bacteria after saltwater entered an open wound.
    One person in Sarasota County, Fla. has died from “flesh-eating bacteria,” officials there confirmed.  According to a spokesperson with the Florida Department of Health, the patient was middle-aged and had chronic health problems.  The patient contracted the bacteria after saltwater entered an open wound.
  • Aire Ancient Baths

    A relaxing bathhouse in busy Tribeca

    A relaxing bathhouse in busy Tribeca

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 10:29 PM EDT2014-07-30 02:29:51 GMT
    Deep beneath the hustle and bustle of Tribeca lies a modern-day oasis brimming with old world charm: Aire Ancient Baths, my new favorite city escape. The breathtaking spa is illuminated by hundreds of candles and smells of invigorating eucalyptus. For around $80 you can bathe in the tranquil blue pools for 90 minutes and find the temperature that's right for you.
    Deep beneath the hustle and bustle of Tribeca lies a modern-day oasis brimming with old world charm: Aire Ancient Baths, my new favorite city escape. The breathtaking spa is illuminated by hundreds of candles and smells of invigorating eucalyptus. For around $80 you can bathe in the tranquil blue pools for 90 minutes and find the temperature that's right for you.
Powered by WorldNow

KSAZ-TV & KUTP
511 W. Adams St.
Phoenix, AZ 85003

Phone: (602) 257-1234
Fax: (602) 262-0177

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