Medical specialists warn of overtesting

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A nuclear medicine technologist talks to a patient before a positron emission tomography cat scan, or PET-CT. (AP file Photo/Mike Groll)

Hour 1

Nine physician specialty societies are banning together with leading consumer groups to draw attention to the over-use of certain medical tests and procedures.  The “Choosing Wisely” initiative, launched by the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation and Consumer Reports, is warning doctors and patients of 45 commonly prescribed but often unnecessary tests and screenings. The use of CT or MRI scans for back pain or headaches, annual EKGs on healthy patients, and antibiotics for sinusitis all made the list. And the over-use of these procedures not only puts patients at undue risk but also makes up a big part of the country’s mounting health care costs – by some estimates, up to one-third. This hour, we’ll talk about this issue with CHRISTINE CASSEL, a geriatrician and president and CEO of the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation, and GILBERT WELCH, a Professor of Medicine at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice and the author of “Overdiagnosed: Making People Sick In Pursuit of Health.

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[audio: 041212_100630.mp3]

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