Bookmark this page: “Choosing Wisely: Lists.”
Whether you are seeing your doctor for a cold, a routine physical or a “new patient visit,” or when you suspect that he’s offering you the
famous notorious “blue pill or red pill,” how do you as a layman know whether a medical test or procedure is needed? Will it lead to a treatment decision or just more tests? Does it help? Or does it actually cause harm?
Or politically, will ObamaCare cost cuts and rationing deny you a procedure, test, or treatment that would be helpful?
The American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation asked the various physician sub-specialty organizations in the US to list tests, treatments and procedures that don’t help or might actually hurt patients. The lists are published on the “Choosing Wisely” website.
Remember, there’s a difference between screening tests that look for something you might have, and diagnostic tests to explain a symptom from your history or chief complaint, a finding on an exam or to determine whether a treatment is working or harming. And there’s certainly a difference between starting a treatment, doing a procedure or ordering a test that leads to more risk than the disease or condition we’re treating just because . . . of money, out-of-date knowledge, or patient desire. Or because we can.
Whatever health care problem or concern you have, take a look at the list from the medical specialty for the pertinent body part or organ system. Which tests and procedure do you need, and which have you had that are on these lists?
I don’t quite agree with all the items on all the lists. After all, patient care is not a recipe from a given cookbook – and besides, patients’ bodies can’t read the books to follow the recipes.
Let’s talk! Ask me questions and/or let me translate the jargon.