New report says some medical tests unnecessary

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- You may be getting unnecessary tests and treatments at the doctor.

The new report, developed by societies that represent hundreds of thousands of physicians, claims that's the case.

The report title says a lot, "Choosing Wisely."

The American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) foundation asked nine medical societies to list "five things physicians and patients should question."

Dr. Charles McBride, with Summit Medical Group, said, "The report is spot on. Patients often times present with a lot of anxiety and concerns about their medical conditions, and it's up to physicians to help educate."

The American Academy for Family Physicians recommended in the report to not order imaging for low back pain.

Dr. McBride agreed and said, "While you could do an MRI early in the course of that, would it change your course of treatment? And the answer is no."

The American Society of Clinical Oncology lists PET, CT, and bone scans as unnecessary for some cases of prostate and breast cancer.

UT Medical Center Surgical Oncologist Dr Keith Gray said he isn't surprised that some tests can be overused. "I think sometimes physicians order more tests than are needed, but I also think patient expectations are high as well and may request tests that will give them 'peace of mind,' when they're actually not needed."

The American Gastroenterological Association wants a colonoscopy limited to every 10 years in "average-risk people."

After a decade, Knoxville resident Dave Foulk recently went in for his test and found out he has cancer. "I'm afraid people might hear the reports of some screenings are not necessary and then take that and run as fast as they can away from a clinic or a hospital," he said.

But, Dr. Gray said this report is really about doing what's best for you, and that means getting to know your doctor.

"In the era of healthcare reform I think we have to monitor healthcare spending. I think we have to look for simple and creative ways to cut spending," he said.

Dr. Gray added that this is likely the future of medical care.

Another 8 specialty societies are set to release their recommendations later this year, among them hospice, pathology, and hospital medicine.

The learn more about each list of recommendations from the nine specialty societies, CLICK HERE.

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