Doctors Think Others Often Prescribe Unnecessary Care

Three out of four physicians believe that fellow doctors prescribe an unnecessary test or procedure at least once a week, a survey released Thursday finds.

Three out of four physicians believe that fellow doctors prescribe an unnecessary test or procedure at least once a week, a survey released Thursday finds. The most frequent reasons that physicians order extraneous—and costly—medical care are fears of being sued, impulses to be extra careful and desires to reassure their own assessments of the patient, the survey said.

The survey was commissioned for Choosing Wisely, a two-year old campaign devised by a foundation created by internal medicine doctors that has persuaded nearly 60 medical societies to identify overused tests and procedures. The goal is to cut back on needless medical care, which by some estimates may waste a third of the $2.8 trillion the country spends on health each year.

The campaign focuses on encouraging conversations between patients and doctors about the suspect treatments it identifies. In the survey, 47 percent of doctors said one patient a week requests something unnecessary. While most doctors believe they are most responsible for interceding, 48 percent said that when facing an insistent patient, they advise against it but still order the test. Another 5 percent said they just order the test.

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Source: Kaiser Health News