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Doctor groups urge patients to question some medical tests

by Brendon Nafziger, DOTmed News Associate Editor | April 04, 2012

Wolfson said that this fall another eight specialist societies, including the Society of Nuclear Medicine, will release their lists of potentially overused procedures.

For now though, Consumer Reports should be releasing a prototype of the sort of patient-friendly material patients can bring to their physicians to discuss procedures. As for Wolfson, he has already made at least one change.

"I did change my doctor," he said.

Things to question

The physician groups, which together represent more than 375,000 doctors, suggest questioning procedures including:

  • Pre-operative chest X-ray unless the patient's history or a physical exam warrants it.

  • Scanning patients with uncomplicated headache or who have fainted, absent other risk factors

  • Giving women under 65, or men under 70, DEXA scans to screen for osteoporosis, unless they have other risk factors.

  • Performing PET, CT or radionuclide bone scans to stage low-risk early breast or prostate cancer.

  • Routine cancer screening for dialysis patients who don't have long to live and who have no symptoms.

For the full list, visit www.choosingwisely.org.

The physician groups participating in this round include the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American College of Cardiology, the American College of Physicians, the American College of Radiology, the American Gastroenterological Association, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Society of Nephrology and American Society of Nuclear Cardiology.

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